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Wed, Oct. 23

Spider bite First Aid tips

Brown recluse.

Brown recluse.

Spiders are fascinating creatures. They are capable of spinning a variety of webs and eliciting shrieks and fast movements from people who wouldn't otherwise be so excitable.

Nearly all 20,000 species of spiders have venom, but most are not able to pierce human skin when they bite.

Arizona is home to two species that can pierce the skin when they bite: the black widow spider and the brown recluse spider.

Black widow spider bites feel like a pinprick. Within a few hours, the initial faint red marks or slight swelling can change into stiffness and intense pain. Some people experience chills, fever, nausea or severe abdominal pain from the bite of a black widow spider. These spiders like to live in dry, undisturbed places and have a red hourglass shape on the belly.

The brown recluse spider, which has a violin-shaped marking on its back, causes a stinging sensation when it bites.

The bite from a brown recluse can cause intense pain within eight hours. This bite can also make a fluid-filled blister, or cause a mild fever and rash.

First aid steps include:

• Cleaning the spider bite site with soap and water

• Applying a washcloth soaked in cold water or filled with ice on the bite wound

• Making a snug bandage above the bite if the spider bite is on the arm or leg.

Adults with severe symptoms or young children

in general may need immediate medical attention for black widow spider bites or bites from brown recluse spiders. Doctors can treat these bites with anti-venom medication or corticosteroids.

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