Two of the most dangerous spiders to worry about in North America are the brown recluse and black widow. These two, along with a handful of other spiders, are the primary ones that North Americans need to be wary of.
Generally, you can treat a spider bite by simply running water over the infected area and cleaning it with soap, then applying a cool compress to the wound and elevating it. In rare cases, however, a spider bite can cause a more severe reaction and medical attention may be required.
Brown Recluse Spiders
Brown recluse spiders mostly populate the central and southern parts of the United States. A unique identifying feature is that they have only six eyes instead of the usual eight that spiders typically have.
Other names for the brown recluse spider are violin of fiddleback spiders, named for the violin-shaped marking along the top of their bodies.
When bitten by a brown recluse, it feels mostly painless; however, it is possible for an individual to suffer a severe localized reaction, causing a large blister to form within the day of the bite.
Within the next 10-14 days, a depressed, open sore may begin to form. The time it takes to heal from a brown recluse bite may last as long as six to eight weeks in total.
Do not hesitate to visit a physician if you believe you have been bitten by a brown recluse spider.
Black Widow Spiders
Black widows tend to keep to themselves. They prefer to form their crisscross webs in sheds, garages, attics, and crawl spaces. One variation of the black widow, the northern widow spider, can be found frequently in New England.
A female northern widow spider measures approximately ½ inch (1.3 cm) in length and a unique identifying feature is a red hourglass shape beneath the abdomen.
Black widow bites are extremely painful and will continue to cause pain for 12 to 48 hours after the initial bite. Additional side effects are dizziness, headaches, shortness of breath, and abdominal spasms.
Those who are most susceptible to risk of death are unhealthy adults and children who have a chance of dying within 12 to 32 hours due to asphyxia, or a lack of oxygen to one’s brain, if it is left untreated.
Immediate medical attention is highly recommended for black widow bites.
Funnel Web Spiders
Another potentially dangerous type of spider is the funnel-web spider. One kind of funnel-web spider is the house spider, which frequently appear in the basements of homes located in the Pacific Northwestern area.
The aggressive house spider measures an inch (2.5 cm) in length or more and are prone to bite with little provocation. Though the bite may not be particularly painful, its venom can cause skin injuries and lesions that may last as long as a month.
In extreme cases, one may require surgery to repair lost tissue at the location of the bite. Additionally, one may experience nausea, headaches, vison loss, or weakness. If bitten, medical attention will be required.
Common Sac Spiders
The common sac spider is usually not found in populated areas, and is infrequently found in homes.
Sac spider bites are often confused with brown recluse bites because they both produce swelling, pain, and ulcerated sores at the bite location.
Those bitten may experience muscular discomfort in the initial few hours of the bite. See a physician if the symptoms do not heal or worsen, but typically sac spider bites heal within three days.