Doctors seeing increase in brown recluse spider bites - Tucson News Now

Doctors seeing increase in brown recluse spider bites


The director of the Tennessee Poison Center says they typically see one or two brown recluse spider bites per week during the summer, but this year, that number has jumped to three or four.

Kimberly Webster was in her car when she felt something bite her leg. She got a headache and then started to swell up.

"Once it started swelling and the redness, I was like, I might need to go to the ER. So, I came to the ER and they said it was a brown recluse spider bite," she said.

Doctors said seeing a rash around the spider bite is common.

"That's a reaction to the toxin. It's not a rapidly spreading infection, which is what many people think. Following that can be a blister or a small dark spot that forms in the center," said Dr. Donna Seger, who runs the Tennessee Poison Center at Vanderbilt.

Ashley Waterbury is also recovering from a brown recluse bite.

"I was actually laying in bed getting ready to go to sleep, and I moved my leg and I felt something bite me," she said. "I woke up the next morning and my knee was completely swollen."

Waterbury said her knee was the size of a baseball.

"It does hurt some now; it hurt really bad at first," she said.

Brown recluse spiders are typically light to medium brown with a violin-shaped marking on their back.

If you have a spider bite with a rash, go see the doctor.

"Pain pills just don't seem to do it with these bites, but ice makes it better. It's important not to put ointments on them because there's a high incidence of reaction to the ointments. It's very difficult sometimes for physicians just not to do nothing, but that's what we need to do and just let these bites heal," Seger said.

There are rare cases where the bite can lead to something more serious or life-threatening, especially in children.

Click here for more information on symptoms.

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