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What is the treatment for a brown recluse spider bite?

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Quick Answer

The treatment for a brown recluse spider bite includes pain medication and, if the bite is on a limb, elevation of the limb, as well as restricting movement if the bite is near a joint, according to MedlinePlus. Brown recluse spider bites require a visit to the hospital for monitoring.

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Full Answer

Brown recluse spider bites may become infected, and doctors administer antibiotics if this occurs, MedlinePlus says. Prior to hospital care, treatment of the symptoms of brown recluse bites include washing the area with soap and water and applying ice packs intermittently. The goal of treatment is mainly to reduce the chance of complications; brown recluse spider bites can leave large craters and severe scarring despite treatment.

Brown recluse spider bites are very dangerous and can be especially deadly for children, according to MedlinePlus. Once 48 hours have passed, the chance of death from a bite decreases. In severe cases, symptoms can include blood in the urine, kidney failure, jaundice, seizures and coma. More common symptoms include sweating, fever and chills, nausea, a reddish or purplish coloration around the bite, general discomfort and itching. It is also common for an ulcer to form at the site of the brown recluse bite. This wound can take up to six weeks to heal.

When a person arrives at the hospital after a brown recluse spider bite, the health care provider typically begins by evaluating the extent of the damage and confirming that the bite is indeed that of a brown recluse, explains eMedicineHealth. The patient may be given a tetanus shot, and dead tissue may be removed from the wound area to reduce the risk of bacterial infection. Antihistamines are often prescribed to keep itching under control. Typically, individuals are asked to return for daily follow-up visits for several days so that the healing progress can be monitored. If tissue death is extensive, people who have been bitten may need to follow up with a surgeon. Hospitalization may be required in cases where the bite causes systemic symptoms such as fever, vomiting and muscle pain.

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