Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Physicians seeing increase in brown recluse spider bites

Date:
July 23, 2014
Source:
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Summary:
Medical toxicologists are reporting an increase in patients seen with brown recluse spider bites this summer. There are two components to spider bites -- the cutaneous lesion and, more rarely, the systemic symptoms that can occur following the bite.

The brown recluse spider has a violin-shaped marking on its back.
Credit: CDC image library

Vanderbilt medical toxicologists are reporting an increase in patients seen with brown recluse spider bites this summer.

The venomous bites usually heal well if left alone, according to Tennessee Poison Center Medical Director Donna Seger, M.D., but there are so many urban legends about these bites, patients frequently apply many treatments before seeking medical advice.

There are two components to spider bites -- the cutaneous lesion and, more rarely, the systemic symptoms that can occur following the bite. The syndrome known as systemic loxsoscelism consists of brown recluse spider bites accompanied by a fever, rash, muscle pain, with or without hemolysis (breaking down of red blood cells), which can be life threatening, especially in children, Seger said.

"Our recommendations are that all children under 12 with a brown recluse spider bite should have a urine test for the presence of hemoglobin in blood which indicates hemolysis," Seger said.

"If the urine is positive for blood and/or the child has other signs of systemic loxsoscelism (rash, fever), the child should be admitted and observed for hemolysis. If the urine dip is negative, and there are no other signs of systemic loxsoscelism, the child should be seen by a physician the next day."

If adults with a brown recluse spider bite do not have rash, fever or muscle pain there is no need to do a urine test, Seger said.

"As physicians, it is hard for us to do nothing. The cutaneous lesion has classic characteristics, but if physicians are not familiar with this bite, the tendency is to debride and cut out the lesion. This actually slows the healing process and can result in disfigurement that would not occur if the lesion were left alone. Ointments, antibiotics, and dapsone are not recommended. Ice works better than opiates for pain," Seger said.

"We don't know why systemic loxsoscelism occurs in some people with a brown recluse spider bite and not in others but it is life-threatening and does require immediate medical attention. Toxin-induced hemolysis can occur very rapidly and therein lies the life threat, especially in children."

The brown recluse spider, also known as the violin spider, is usually between 6-20 mm. It is typically light to medium brown but can range in color from cream-colored to dark brown or blackish gray. It has six eyes instead of eight and can be identified by the violin-shaped marking on its back.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Vanderbilt University Medical Center. The original article was written by Craig Boerner. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Vanderbilt University Medical Center. "Physicians seeing increase in brown recluse spider bites." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 July 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140723131245.htm>.
Vanderbilt University Medical Center. (2014, July 23). Physicians seeing increase in brown recluse spider bites. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140723131245.htm
Vanderbilt University Medical Center. "Physicians seeing increase in brown recluse spider bites." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140723131245.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

California University Designs Sustainable Winery

California University Designs Sustainable Winery

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 27, 2014) Amid California's worst drought in decades, scientists at UC Davis design a sustainable winery that includes a water recycling system. Vanessa Johnston reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Argentina Worries Over Decline of Soybean Prices

Argentina Worries Over Decline of Soybean Prices

AFP (Sep. 27, 2014) The drop in price of soy on the international market is a cause for concern in Argentina, as soybean exports are a major source of income for Latin America's third largest economy. Duration: 01:10 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mama Bear, Cubs Hang out in California Backyard

Mama Bear, Cubs Hang out in California Backyard

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 27, 2014) A mama bear and her two cubs climb trees, wrestle and take naps in the backyard of a Monrovia, California home. Vanessa Johnston reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Crazy' Climate Forces Colombian Farmers to Adapt

'Crazy' Climate Forces Colombian Farmers to Adapt

AFP (Sep. 26, 2014) Once upon a time, farming was a blissfully low-tech business on Colombia's northern plains. Duration: 02:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins