December 15, 2022
Dr. Jerry Williams of Urgent Care 24/7 discusses spider bites.
Now we see a lot of patients nationally at Urgent Care 247 who present with the complaint of possible spider bites. Fortunately, the majority of them typically don't end up being spider bites. But they can be another serious condition which are typically staff related infections such as methicillin resistant Staph aureus, or MRSA. Now, that's a whole different topic that we'll talk about later. Actually, it's the brown recluse spider, by that is frequently suspected when there can be a metals, methicillin resistant Staph aureus infection. We can typically figure that out by the physical exam. By taking a careful history from the patient, though not always.
The spider bites that we see in the United States most commonly are the brown recluse spider bites, and also those of the Black Widow. Both very serious conditions, now the black widow spider bite is a very serious condition. So if you suspect you've been bitten, or you know you've been bitten by a black widow spider, you need to seek medical care immediately. It is a medical emergency and if it's an a child, or elderly person, it's it's even it's it needs to be taken at the highest level of concern. So, again, suspected black widow spider bite, seek medical care immediately. Because the venom that the black widow produces is a protein that's actually a neurotoxin.
When the bite occurs and the Venom's are injected into the end of the person into it, which is intended for the prey of the spider, the patient very quickly, within 20 minutes to an hour, starts to have symptoms of muscle weakness and tremors, and muscle spasms, abdominal pain, heart, heart racing, changes in blood pressure and ultimately, especially in the very young or the elderly, it can even result in death. It's extremely important that you take these bites very seriously and treat them as true medical emergencies.
Now in regards to the to the brown recluse by the the venom is actually different. It is not as neurotoxin, it's actually a tissue a tissue naturalizing venom that causes destruction of the tissue, and I mean destruction, it's terrible. These bites, we will have to go in and debris dead tissue and the where the venom has spread. It can take multiple multiple debridements to remove the damaged dead tissue. Sometimes in the worst cases with these brown recluse bites, skin grafts are actually required to cover in help the women close.
These are extremely serious bites. If you think you've been bitten by a brown recluse, you need to take it very seriously and seek medical attention immediately. Both of these spiders are pretty common. It's interesting because frequently, patients who have been bitten by spiders, it can happen in your sleep, they have no idea they've been bitten. Just because you didn't see the spider bite, you need to have a pretty high threshold, or I should say a low threshold of to seek care and a very high suspicion.
Because if you have these symptoms, it can be a serious medical problem. We see a lot of patients who present with the presumed spider bite and fortunately on exam, we find that by taking the history these are typically patients who have a history of meth methicillin Staph aureus, where the patient just has a staph infection and it's not related to a brown recluse by with the necrotizing venom of the brown recluse.
Dr. Williams hopes that you find that this information is useful. Antibiotics and steroids, and very, very careful wound care are the mainstays of treatment, and certainly you need to seek medical care to secure those. He looks forward to talking to you soon on another medical chat where we'll cover topics such as this spider bite.
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