What's Going Around: Spider Bites

JONESBORO - One Region 8 man is being called spider man by his friend at Triple FM radio group.  But on-air radio personailty Blake Watkins would rather not have the title or the bite he found oh his leg last week.

When he first saw the red mark on his leg he said "I thought it was just an insect bite, a mosquito or something like that. Just keep peroxide and stuff like that on it, but it kept gettting worse, started swelling up and i knew it was time to get it checked out."  After visiting a doctor it was determined that Mr. Watkins had a spider bite, most likely from a brown recluse.  And it was a good thing he went to the doctor when he did because some brown recluse bites can cause skin to die and patients to need plastic surgery in order to repair the damage.

Dr. James Fletcher an St. Bernards ER Physician says, on the other hand, most brown recluse bites are not very significant."  He said the number of spider bites picks up this time of year and that Arkansas lies in the dead center of the region of the United States known for brown recluse spider bites.  And while most bites are easily treated he notes that when someone has a truly significant bite where they're getting lots of systemic symptoms, they have to look closely because the bite could actually be breaking down their own red blood cells.

However, the initial spider bite victim may not even know they've been bitten.  Symptoms usually develop two to eight hours afterward and can include pain, severe itching, nausea, vomiting, fever, and muscle pain. Blake Watkins says, "the swelling got really, really bad...up in my leg and actually all the way down into my foot and they told me to keep the bandage on it. Keep the creme and pump me full of antibiotics basically."Some find that antihistamines such as benadryl provide some relief, and one shouls also ice and elevate the affected area.

So how can we aviod the brown recluse spider? Well, it isn't easy most homes in the Region 8 area are going to have a brown recluse or two hiding somewhere in them.  However, they don't purposely bite humans, typically only when they've managed to get on an article of clothing and then get pressed against the skin.