Frequently Asked Questions
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Question: How do I tell if I have a spider bite or a MRSA or staph infection?

Answer: A BRS bite usually will have a red circle/halo/bull's eye around it. Look at the pictures of MRSA/staph infections on this web site: http://www.staph-infection-resources.com/mrsa-pictures.html#pictures%20of%20staph


Question:
My doctor has told me that Brown Recluse Spiders do not live in my area of the country.  Where is home for this spider? 

Answer:
BRSs are everywhere because of cars, planes, shipping, package delivery, etc.   See The Spider page for more information. 
View our report on Bite Counts by State and Month to see when and where the BRS bites. Check out our other report on Bite Counts by Body Part .


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Question:
If a BRS did not cause this wound, what did? What other spiders or insects could leave a wound like this?

Answer:
There have been reports that the Hobo Spider can produce the same type of wound.
Also a tick could be the culprit.  Doesn't hurt to get tested for Lyme's Disease .  (I tested positive at the time of my bite. - Mark)

If bit by a spider or any insect catch it and save it for positive identification!  You will then know exactly what bit you and it will help in establishing a treatment.  (I know this is not always possible.  We never found my spider.)


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Question:
I've just been bit by a Brown Recluse Spider. How bad is this bite going to get? How long will it take to heal?

Answer:
Every bite is different. Please search on "Body Part" in the BRS Database to read stories and view pictures that may be similar to your bite.

Take photos of your bite progression for your medical history record! Start photographing as soon as possible.

When you post  your bite story to the BRS Bite Site remember to include pictures.  One picture is worth a thousand words.


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Question:
Could the following symptoms be the result of a BRS bite (rash, headache, white and red streaks, nausea , and the list goes on...)?

Answer:
Please search the BRS Database: Set the Message Text field with your symptoms, click the Search button and read what others have posted.


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Question:
What is the best treatment for a BRS bite?

Answer:
The Brown recluse venom causes tissue necrosis .  The enzyme primarily responsible is sphingomyelinase D (or phospolipase D), which disrupts cellular membranes.  Various other enzymes in the venom may act as foreign antigens to trigger the victim's immune response and contribute to necrosis. There are mixed theories on the proper treatment for a Brown Recluse Spider bite and varying degrees of success.

Also every bite's severity is different. A factor seems to be where the bite is located on the body.  You can search for bite reports by severity and the part of the body bitten. Please take a look at the Treatment Information pages and search on treatments/medications to read about their success.  You can review the "Frequency of Prescribed Medications" report that shows how many times each medication has been prescribed as reported in MyBite messages.

A reader called our attention to the following article by Dr. Kenneth Burton, "The Brown Recluse Spider: Finally Stopped In Its Tracks". Dr. Burton recommends nitroglycerin patches.


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Question:
My wife was bit 9-1-00.  It is now 6-29-01.  It started like the typical bite. It got about 3 inches in diameter. Luckily it stopped at the bone. Took approximately 3-4 months for the original bite to heal, it is now just a thin layer of scar tissue laying on the bone no muscle tissue under it at all.  Now as well as during the original bite time she has satellite bites all over her arm as many as 6-8 at a time from 1/4 in. to 1 in. in diameter. Some which go thru skin and tissue.  It appears that they start from the inside and work to the surface  She can tell when another bite is going to surface because of the fluid build up underneath. Are there any remedies for these satellite bites? We have been to over 30 doctors and 5 hospitals. Have read a lot of your messages and wondered about the stun gun. We have tried more meds and treatments than I can list. The only relief she gets is what we call milking the new bites when they open up and that is only for a short while.

Answer:
We are seeing more reports of recurring bites / sores without being re-bitten which sounds like your wife's satellite bites. Also, long lasting sores that do not heal.  Please search on recurring bites for more patient information.  You can also read more about the  modified stun gun treatment and search on "stun gun " to read about its use by bite victims. You might also try contacting Dr. Abrams.


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Question
Is it common to be afraid of spiders after being bitten by one?  I'm suffering from a severe case of arachnophobia .

Answer:
I had arachnophobia in the months following my bite.  My fear gradually went away . Search the Bite Site for other reports of arachnophobia.


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Question:
How can I get rid of these spiders in my house?

Answer:
Call your local exterminator .  Remember Brown Recluse Spiders like to live in dark places.  Be sure to shake out all clothing including shoes that have not been worn for a while. This is especially true if they have been stored in an attic/garage/basement.


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Question:
My pet has an ugly bite wound and is really sick.  Is it possible this could be a BRS bite?

Answer:
Yes We have received reports and pictures of pet bites.


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