Before you tackle that pile of leaves in the front yard, or grab a few logs of wood to throw in the fireplace this winter, be on the lookout for spiders. Most are harmless, but two in particular can be very harmful and often require medical attention.
There are thousands of different spiders in the U.S. However, two of the most concerning are the black widow and brown recluse.
Black widows are glossy and have a tell-tale red hourglass on the underside of their abdomens. The brown recluse, also known as the violin spider, is characterized by a dark violin- or fiddle-shaped marking on its head.
In general, spiders aren't aggressive. But they do occasionally bite when trapped, sat on or accidentally touched.
Possible symptoms of a spider bite include itching or rash, pain radiating from the site of the bite, muscle pain or cramping, fever, nausea and vomiting, and a red or purple blister.
Here's what to do if a spider bites you:
· Wash the bite well with soap and water.
· Apply an ice pack to the bite
· Elevate the area and keep it still to help decease swelling and prevent the spread of venom.
· If possible, catch and bring the spider to the doctor's office with you.
Treatment of a spider bite may include medications to help relax muscles and reduce pain. Depending on the type of spider, doctors will sometimes give antivenom to fight the venom in the spider's bite.
So to spider-proof your environment, vacuum under closets and beds, maintain a manicured yard, and caulk around windows and doors. It is also smart to shake out clothing, gloves, shoes or linens that have not been used in a while.