Chancellor's Check-Up: Spider Bites - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

11/30/03

Chancellor's Check-Up: Spider Bites

Do you ever wake up with a bump on your skin and wonder if a spider got you while you were sleeping? That creepy crawler is the subject of this week's Chancellor's Check-Up.

When the seasons change and the weather becomes cooler, spiders have a tendency to move indoors. Dr. Ronald Warner from the Texas Tech Medical Center says though most spiders are not aggressive by nature, many will inject their venom if they become trapped against your skin.

He says that there are probably 50 different spiders in this area, but most of them don't inject enough venom into you or maybe their venom is not potent enough for humans. Less harmful spiders tend to leave elevated red bumps that are isolated on the skin and warm to the touch. These bites may also swell and become sore.

The two most dangerous spider bites come from the black widow and the brown recluse. Bites from these spiders can be very harmful and often require medical attention.

Dr. Warner says that children are probably more susceptible to the spider bites because they have a smaller body mass. The spider will inject the same amount in a child as it does an adult.

Preventing spider bites can involve cleaning your house regularly, maintaining a well-kept lawn, and adequately sealing all windows and doors. It is also smart to shake out clothing, shoes or linens that have not been used in a while.

Important points to keep in mind about spiders are that most are harmless and they do a lot of good in nature, and as weather turns cooler, these guys go indoors. If you are bitten, wrapping ice in a wash cloth and applying it to the bite will help keep the venom from spreading and reduce the swelling.

A hydrocortisone topical skin ointment is always helpful to keep in your medicine cabinet in case of a bite.

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