Sunday, May 23, 2010
Brown Recluse Bites
Last night, Robbie was bitten by a brown recluse spider. ooooohhhhhh!!!! Oh My Gosh!! you're thinking. I know!! So was I!
Here's what happened and then I'll tell you what I learned.
He got into bed and all of a sudden was thrashing around making all sorts of attention getting noises. I was ignoring him because I was annoyed at him for earlier snapping at me. Our conversation went like this...
Me: "Don't snap at me!!"
Him: " I didn't snap at you!"
Me: "Yes, you did!"
Him: "No, I didn't!"
You can see where that's going. Nowhere really. We've been married 20 years this August and we work together. Trust me, that conversation was pretty tame as you can probably imagine.
Anyway, so we're in bed and then he's thrashing and I'm ignoring and he says "I just got bitten by a spider, it's right here in the bed tell me what you think it is." Well, I will tell you, that as a country girl, spiders don't bother me much. HOWEVER, I do NOT want to be in bed with one!!
So, then, now I'm thrashing around and catch the spider on a knitting magazine. Then, I catch it with some tiny little pliers. I don't really know what a brown recluse looks like at this point. Robbie is all worried and I tell him. "No, it's not a brown recluse." The whole time I'm thinking, 'hmmmm, I wonder if this is a brown recluse'. I'm a good wife like that.
So, I put the spider in a jar just in case a trip the ER requires a specimen viewing. Plus, as a homeschooling mom, I'm used to looking for educational opportunities where they arise. I grab my nifty new phone with internet, head back to bed and look up pictures of brown recluse spiders. The picture at the top of this post looks EXACTLY like the spider I have in a jar!!
So, then I look up treatments for brown recluse bites. I will pass this on to you, in case you ever find yourself or your snappy husband in this predicament.
Brown Recluse spiders have a scientific name but I won't tell you what it is. Seriously, who cares, right?? It's a Brown Recluse! They are pretty mild mannered little creatures that aren't aggressive unless they feel threatened, For instance, if someone, say lays on top of them or puts their foot on them while they are just minding their own business in your shoe, sock, or bed. Most bites, I learned, occur when someone is in bed and rolls over on them. Lesson 1...Check your bed for spiders. That's the kind of thing that makes you go "muahaa!"
If you happen to get a bite, you'll feel a very mild sting and then it won't really hurt at all. Which is what Robbie said. Then, in most cases, nothing happens. In fact, a lot of people get bitten without even realizing it. Wow!!! Who knew? But, in some cases, between 1 and 8 hours, people begin to feel itchy and then intense pain. That's because, the venom in the bite actually liquefies human tissue. eewwww!
But, the really bad pictures and scary stories that we've all heard generally don't happen. And when they do, it's caused by an infection. Not the bite. A lot of MRSA cases have been misdiagnosed as Brown Recluse bites. My mom has MRSA and she initially thought it was a spider bite. It wasn't.
Another interesting thing to note is that there really isn't any effective medical treatment for brown recluse bites. Antibiotics don't work because its neither a bacteria or a virus (not that antibiotics are anti-viral). But, I did read that a strong immune system is important and also a paste of baking soda draws out the toxin as does charcoal. I don't think charcoal briquettes would help, but you can get charcoal capsules at the health food store. The paste is 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water. Do you know that I'm out of baking soda?
Anyway, it didn't matter, because Robbie is just fine. I came back in the room and asked him if it was itchy or painful and he said "No, and I didn't snap at you!"
"Fine, if you're leg falls off in the middle of the night, don't come crying to me!" Because I'm a good wife like that! :)