What You Should Do If You Are Bitten By A Brown Recluse


The last thing anyone would want is to be bitten by a brown recluse spider. Brown recluse has a venomous toxin known as sphingomyelinase D. The venom causes a condition called Loxoscelism – tissue death.

But how do you know if it is a brown recluse spider bite? Capturing the spider will help you identify the spider, but it will put you in danger of a second bite. We will see the symptoms and how to treat them? 

Stages And Symptoms 

Brown recluse toxin damages the blood vessels, nerves, and tissues. The venom damages blood vessels, causing a lack of oxygen to the tissues. Here is how the damage takes place.

Initial Symptoms

The bite may have no symptoms, but in most cases, there is an inflamed area on the skin in 3 to 8 hours. It may cause itching or irritation with a burning sensation. The necrotic lesion will look like a bluish dry patch on the skin or redness with a central blister.

Symptoms In One To two Weeks 

The spreading venom forms an ulcer that grows over time. It will not break the skin in two weeks and will last for months.

Symptoms After Three Weeks

Most brown recluse bites heal within three weeks; those with severe bite conditions will develop dead tissue – eschar. It looks like a big black wound with a thick scab.

Symptoms After Three Months

All brown recluse bites heal within three months. However, if there are still symptoms, it may not be a brown recluse bite.

Home Remedy

Home first-aid for a brown recluse spider bite is simple. However, self-first aid does not substitute seeing a doctor. Here is what you should do.

    • Wash the wound with soap and water
    • Apply ice or cold pack to reduce swelling and pain
    • Try and keep the affected level above the heart
    • Avoid heavy or strenuous work to prevent the venom from entering the skin
    • Do not apply heat to the affected area
    • Do not apply a steroid cream to the wound
    • Do not apply a tourniquet or cut the wound

Medical Treatment

Once you reach the hospital, the following treatment takes place.

    • Pain management and medication
    • Immunization from tetanus
    • Antibiotic treatment if needed on medical advice
    • Itching relief by application of antihistamines

There is no anti-venom available to counter brown recluse spite. There are a few controversial treatments, such as Avlosulfon and steroids. It is given on medical advice and the condition of the patient.

The patient needs follow-up since the wound requires to be checked and treated. Dead tissues are to be removed and dressed for the healing process. If adequate care is not taken, it will result in secondary infection.

How To Prevent Brown Recluse bite?

As wise men say – prevention is better than cure; we must take adequate precautions to prevent a brown recluse bite. Prevention starts by being a little careful and avoiding set habits.

    • Keep your house clean by having a daily cleaning routine to prevent spiders’ entry and making a safe web.
    • Remove all clutter from the garage, basements, and attics.
    • Remove all debris, firewood, and other material from the foundation of your house.
    • Install door sweeps and keep your windows tight to prevent insect entry from gaps.
    • Install yellow sodium vapor bulbs as there do not attract insects.
    • You can also get pest control done once in six months.


Brown recluse bites are sporadic, and you need not worry too much. The best way is to take precautionary measures to prevent brown recluse spiders from entering the house. In the worst circumstances, if there is a bite case, keep calm. Apply first aid to the patient and see a doctor.