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Brown Recluse Spider Bite Treatment

1. Clean and Protect

  • Clean area with gentle soap and water.
  • Apply antibiotic ointment to prevent infection.

2. Control Swelling

  • Ice the area.
  • Elevate area if it is on an arm or leg.

3. Save the Spider, if Possible

  • Kill and save the spider for identification purposes.

4. Call a Health Care Provider

  • Prompt treatment is important, especially for children. Venom from a brown recluse spider bite can cause tissue damage that can lead to scarring, as well as more serious complications.
  • Bring the spider to the health care provider's office if you can.
  • Calling Poison Control (800-222-1222) also can be helpful.

5. Follow Up

  • The health care provider will treat the wound area and may prescribe an antibiotic to prevent infection.
  • The health care provider may recommend ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), acetaminophen (Tylenol), or naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn) for pain. Do not give aspirin to anyone under age 18.
  • Occasionally, surgery or hospitalization is necessary.
  • It may take 6 to 8 weeks for the bite to heal.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by David T. Derrer, MD on October 29, 2013

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