Brown Recluse Spider Bite

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:

Brown recluse spiders are poisonous. A bite wound may heal on its own, but you will need treatment if the wound gets worse. The venom may cause severe skin and tissue damage after several hours or days.

INSTRUCTIONS:

Medicines:

  • Antibiotics: This medicine will help fight or prevent an infection. Take your antibiotics until they are gone, even if you feel better.

  • NSAIDs help decrease swelling and pain or fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask your healthcare provider if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions.

  • Pain medicine: You may be given medicine to take away or decrease pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take your medicine.

  • Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Ice the wound:

Ice helps decrease swelling and pain. Put ice in a plastic bag. Wrap the bag with a towel and put it on the site of the spider bite for 10 to 20 minutes.

Elevate the wound:

Keep the bite area above the level of your heart to help decrease redness and swelling. If you were bitten on the arm or leg, prop it on pillows to keep the area elevated comfortably.

Compress the wound:

A compression bandage around the wound can reduce pain and swelling.

Wound care:

  • Wash your hands before and after you take care of your wound.

  • Clean your wound with mild soap and water, and pat dry. Do this as often as ordered by your primary healthcare provider. If you cannot reach the wound, have someone help you.

  • Carefully check the wound and the area around it. Watch for more swelling, redness, or fluid oozing out of it. If there is bleeding, you may apply gentle pressure.

  • Cover your wound with a layer of sterile gauze bandage or other dressing as ordered by your primary healthcare provider. If the bandage should be wrapped around your arm or leg, wrap it snugly but not too tight. It is too tight if you feel tingling or lose feeling in that area.

  • Keep the bandage clean and dry.

Contact your primary healthcare provider if:

  • You have a rash, itching, or swelling after you take your medicine.

  • The bite becomes red and swollen.

  • You have pain or problems moving the injured part or get tender lumps in the groin or armpits.

  • Your wound continues to get larger.

  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Return to the emergency department if:

  • You have a fever or chills.

  • The skin around your wound gets red, or the wound gets more painful.

  • You have a headache, or nausea and vomiting.

  • You have numbness or tingling in the bite area.

  • You have trouble talking, walking, or breathing.

  • Your urine is darker, or you urinate less than is usual for you.

  • Your wound does not stop bleeding even after you apply pressure.

  • Your wound or bandage has pus or a bad smell.

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Brown Recluse Spider Bite (Aftercare Instructions)

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