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Brown Recluse Spider Bite


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.


Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.


is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.


You may be given the following medicines:

  • Antibiotics: This medicine is given to help treat or prevent an infection caused by bacteria.
  • Antihistamines: This medicine may be given to help decrease itching.
  • Antivenom: Antivenom may be given to help fight the poison that you received. Ask your healthcare provider for more information on antivenom medicine.
  • Steroids: This medicine may be given to decrease inflammation.
  • Medicines to treat pain, swelling, or fever: These medicines are safe for most people to use. However, they can cause serious problems when used by people with certain medical conditions. Tell healthcare providers if you have liver or kidney disease or a history of bleeding in your stomach.
  • Td vaccine is a booster shot used to help prevent tetanus and diphtheria. The Td booster may be given to adolescents and adults every 10 years or for certain wounds and injuries.


  • Blood tests: You may need blood taken to give healthcare providers information about how your body is working. The blood may be taken from your hand, arm, or IV.
  • Urine test: A sample of your urine is collected and sent to a lab for tests.
  • Wound culture: This is a test to grow and identify the germs that may be in your wound. This helps healthcare providers learn what kind of infection you have and what medicine is best to treat it.

Treatment options:

You may have any of the following:

  • Surgery: This is done if the damaged tissue around your wound becomes large and needs to be removed. Cleaning and removing dead tissues may help the wound to heal faster. Ask your healthcare provider for more information about selective methods of debridement (removing dead tissue).
  • Hyperbaric oxygen therapy: This is also called HBO. HBO is used to get more oxygen into your body. The oxygen is given under pressure to help it get into your tissues and blood. You may be put into a tube-like chamber called a hyperbaric or pressure chamber. You will be able to see your healthcare providers and talk with them through a speaker. You may need to have this therapy more than once.


  • Treatment for a brown recluse spider bite may have side effects. Medicines may cause nausea or vomiting. You may have sore throat, or your skin may become pale or yellowish. You may develop soreness, redness, or swelling in the muscle where the tetanus shot was given. Even with treatment, your wound may become worse, or you may get very sick from having the poison in your body.
  • Untreated spider bites may lead to more serious problems, such as swelling and infections. Severe swelling may cause blood supply problems in the area. Infection may spread to other parts of your body and become life-threatening. People who have diabetes, blood supply problems, or have decreased ability to fight infection are at a higher risk of problems.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

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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 (Inpatient Care)

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Further information

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