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MoonDragon's Health & Wellness


The bites of all spiders can be poisonous and painful. However, most spiders are not big enough to cause serious harm. Infants, older adults, and people of any age who have allergies are at greatest risk of having more serious reactions.


Of the 30,000 types of spiders, the black widow is probably the one best known and feared. Although spiders are often blamed for all kinds of symptoms, from local itching to diffuse rashes, the fact is that spiders rarely bite humans, and in fact, most spider bites do not even break the skin.

The bites of very large spiders such as tarantulas can be painful. Otherwise, in the temperate regions, the only spiders to be feared are the black widow and the brown recluse.

The black widow is a medium-sized spider whose body is about a half-inch long. The name is derived from the mistaken belief that the female invariably kills the male after mating. Although the spider is mostly found in the southern United States, it may be seen throughout the US. Five species are common to the US, with two of them being the most common:
  • The southern black widow has the shiny, black, globular abdomen with the distinctive red hourglass on the underside.

  • The northern black widow has a row of red spots down the middle of the upper surface of its abdomen and two crosswise bars on the undersurface. The markings can also be yellow or white, and the spider itself may be brown or have red legs.

See "Types of Spiders" for further descriptions of black and brown widow spiders.

Black widow spiders are nocturnal and, thus, are active at night. They prefer dark corners or crevices. They are said to avoid human dwellings, but you can find them in such areas as outhouses and garages. Only the female black widow bites humans, and she bites only when disturbed, especially while protecting her eggs.


Most spiders are absolutely harmless to humans. In fact, of the 20,000 different species of spiders that inhabit the Americas, only 60 are capable of biting humans. Within that small group, only four are known to be dangerous to humans: the brown recluse, the black widow, the hobo or aggressive house spider, and the yellow sac spider. Within this select group, only the brown recluse and the black widow spider have ever been associated with significant disease and very rare reports of death.

Deaths from brown recluse spiders have been reported only in children younger than seven years. Brown recluse spiders are native to the Midwestern and Southeastern states. Documented populations of brown recluse spiders outside these areas are extremely rare. Fewer than 10 individual spiders have ever been collected outside of these native states. Most false sightings are due to confusion with one of the 13 other species found in the same family.

The most common non-brown recluse spiders are the desert recluse found in Texas, Arizona, and California, and the Arizona recluse. No deaths have ever been reported from non-brown recluse spiders. Bites from these cousins produce mild to moderate local skin disease.

Features: Brown recluse spiders are notable for their characteristic violin pattern on the back of the cephalothorax-the body part to which the legs attach. The violin pattern is seen with the base of the violin at the head of the spider and the neck of the violin pointing to the rear. These small non-hairy spiders are yellowish-tan to dark brown in color with darker legs. They have legs about one inch in length. The name of the genus, Loxosceles, means six eyes. Most other spiders have eight eyes. Yet this unique feature of the brown recluse is lost on the casual observer because the eyes are too small to be seen with the naked eye.

Habits: These spiders are not aggressive and bite only when threatened, usually when pressed up against the victim's skin. They seek out dark, warm, dry environments such as attics, closets, porches, barns, basements, woodpiles, and old tires. Its small, haphazard web, found mostly in corners and crevices, is not used to capture prey. Most bites occur in the summer months.

Venom: The brown recluse venom is extremely poisonous, even more potent than that of a rattlesnake. Yet recluse venom causes less disease than a rattlesnake bite because of the small quantities injected into its victims. The venom of the brown recluse is toxic to cells and tissues. This venom is a collection of enzymes. One of the specific enzymes, once released into the victim's skin, causes destruction of local cell membranes, which disrupts the integrity of tissues leading to local breakdown of skin, fat, and blood vessels. This process leads to eventual tissue death (necrosis) in areas immediately surrounding the bite site.

The venom also induces in its victim an immune response. The victim's immune system releases inflammatory agents-histamines, cytokines, and interleukins-that recruit signal specific disease-fighting white blood cells to the area of injury. In severe cases, however, these same inflammatory agents can themselves cause injury. These secondary effects of the venom, although extremely rare, can produce these more significant side effects of the spider bite:
  • Destruction of red blood cells.
  • Low platelet count.
  • Blood clots in capillaries and loss of ability to form clots where needed.
  • Acute renal failure (kidney damage).
  • Coma.
  • Death.



A bite from a poisonous spider may produce a wide variety of symptoms, including:
  • Intense pain.
  • Numbness.
  • Malaise (general discomfort, feeling out-of-sorts or ill).
  • Redness.
  • Swelling in the affected area.
  • Generalized convulsions.
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Dizziness.
  • Fever or chills.
  • Headache.
  • Impaired speech.
  • Itching.
  • Joint pain.
  • Muscle spasms.
  • Muscular cramping.
  • Nausea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Stiffness.
  • Sweating.
  • Weakness.

Not all these symptoms will occur in every person, although some should appear in the first two-three hours. Children under 10 years are at higher risk than other people.


The black widow spider produces a protein venom that affects the victim's nervous system. This neurotoxic protein is one of the most potent venoms secreted by an animal. Some people are slightly affected by the venom, but others may have a severe response. The first symptom is acute pain at the site of the bite, although there may only be a minimal local reaction. Symptoms usually start within 20 minutes to one hour after the bite.
  • Local pain may be followed by localized or generalized severe muscle cramps, abdominal pain, weakness, and tremor. Large muscle groups (such as shoulder or back) are often affected, resulting in considerable pain. In severe cases, nausea, vomiting, fainting, dizziness, chest pain, and respiratory difficulties may follow.

  • The severity of the reaction depends on the age and physical condition of the person bitten. Children and the elderly are more seriously affected than young adults.

  • In some cases, abdominal pain may mimic such conditions as appendicitis or gallbladder problems. Chest pain may be mistaken for a heart attack.

  • Blood pressure and heart rate may be elevated. The elevation of blood pressure can lead to one of the most severe complications.

  • People rarely die from a black widow's bite. Life-threatening reactions are generally seen only in small children and the elderly.


Brown recluse spider bites often go unnoticed initially because they are usually painless bites, but the venom of the spider is necrotic (causing local tissue damage or death). Occasionally, some minor burning that feels like a bee sting is noticed at the time of the bite. Symptoms usually develop two to eight hours after a bite. Keep in mind that most bites cause little tissue destruction. Victims may experience these symptoms:
  • Severe burning and/or pain at bite site after about four hours.
  • Redness that may develop within several hours to several days after the bite.
  • Severe itching.
  • Nausea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Headache.
  • Fever.
  • Myalgias (muscle pain), body aches.
  • Rash.

Initially the bite site is mildly red and upon close inspection may reveal fang marks. Most commonly, the bite site will become firm and heal with little scaring over the next few days or weeks. Occasionally, the local reaction will be more severe with erythema and blistering, sometimes leading to a blue discoloration (it looks like a deep-blue or purple area located around the bite, surrounded by a whitish ring and large red outer ring. This "bull's eye" appearance is used to distinguish it from other spider bites), and ultimately leading to a necrotic lesion and scaring. Signs may be present include:
  • Blistering or ulceration that turns black (common).
  • Necrosis (death) of skin and subcutaneous fat (less common).
  • Severe destructive necrotic lesions with deep wide borders (rare).
  • Death from this type of bite is even more rare than from Black Widow bites, but if you think you have been bitten by a poisonous spider, you should seek medical help immediately.


MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Insect Bites

MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Snake Bites

MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Scorpion Sting


Two types of spider - the Black Widow and the Brown Recluse - are more poisonous than most and can cause severe reactions. These are the most commonly encountered poisonous spider in the U.S.

Southern Black Widow Spider - L. mactans


The black widow spider has a black body with a distinctive red hourglass shape on the main body segment. The black widow spider is a group of spiders which includes the southern black widow (Latrodectus mactans), the northern black widow (Latrodectus variolus), and the western black widow (Latrodectus hesperus). As the name indicates, the southern widow is primarily found in (and is indigenous to) the southeastern United States, ranging from Florida to New York, and west to Texas, Oklahoma and Arizona, where they run particularly rampant. The northern black widow is found primarily in the northeastern United States and southeastern Canada, though its ranges overlap that of L. mactans quite a bit. The western widow is found in the western United States, as well as in southwestern Canada and much of Mexico. Black widows range in the southern parts of British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario - but only on the Bruce Peninsula. They are often confused with the False Black Widows.

Northern Black Widow Spider - L. variolus

Prior to 1970, when the current taxonomic divisions for North American black widows were set forth by Kaston, all three varieties were classified as a single species, L. mactans. As a result, there exist numerous references which claim that "black widow" (without any geographic modifier) applies to L. mactans alone. Since common usage of the term "black widow" makes no distinction between the three species (and many people are unaware of the differences between them), and because the three species have much in common, this article treats all three species of black widow equally. Except where otherwise indicated, the remainder of the article applies to all three of the above species.

Western Black Widow Spider - L. hesperus

Black widow spiders typically prey on a variety of insects, but occasionally they do feed upon woodlice, diplopods, chilopods and other arachnids. When the prey is entangled by the web, L. mactans quickly comes out of its retreat, wraps the prey securely in its strong web, then bites and envenoms its prey. The venom takes about ten minutes to take effect; in the meantime, the prey is held tightly by the spider. When movements of the prey cease, digestive enzymes are released into the wound. The black widow spider then carries its prey back to its retreat before feeding.

Brown Widow Spider - L. geometricus Brown Widow Spider egg sacks

Latrodectus geometricus is commonly known as the brown widow, grey widow, brown button spider, or geometric button spider. The brown widow is found in parts of the northeastern and southern United States (including Florida, Alabama, California, Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee, and Texas); as well as in parts of Australia and South Africa. L. geometricus is generally lighter in color than the black widow species; the color can range from tan to dark brown to black. Like the black widow, L. geometricus has a prominent "hourglass" marking on the underside of the abdomen. However, the brown widow's hourglass is usually an orange or a yellowish color.

Brown Widows can be located by finding their eggsacks, which are easily identifiable. They resemble a sandspur, having pointed projections all over, and they are sometimes described as "spiky" in appearance. Eggs hatch in approximately 20 days.

Like all Latrodectus species, L. geometricus has a medically significant neurotoxic venom. The brown widow venom is twice as potent as the black widow venom, but is usually confined to the bite area and surrounding tissue, as opposed to the Black Widow. Other sources say that the brown widow is less venomous than L mactans. Regardless, people who have been bitten typically describe the experience as very painful and extreme care should be taken when working or playing in the areas they inhabit.

Black Widow Spider egg sack


When a male is mature, he spins a sperm web, deposits semen on it, and charges his palpi with the sperm. Black widow spiders reproduce sexually when the male inserts his palpus into the female's spermathecal openings. The female deposits her eggs in a globular silken container in which they remain camouflaged and guarded. A female black widow spider can produce four to nine egg sacs in one summer, each containing about 100-400 eggs. Usually, eggs incubate for twenty to thirty days. Rarely do more than a hundred survive through this process. On average, thirty will survive through the first molting, because of cannibalism, lack of food, or lack of proper shelter. It takes two to four months for black widow spiders to mature enough to breed, however full maturation typically takes six to nine months. The females can live for up to five years, while a male's lifespan is much shorter. The female, on occasion, eats the male after mating. L. mactans is the only black widow species for which this form of sexual cannibalism has been observed in the wild. Lifespans depend upon environment, with shelter being the greatest determining factor and food the second greatest. Males that escape being consumed by the females can go on to fertilize other females. This is a general misconception, as the name seems to suggest that the males are invariably consumed after mating.

Introduced Range

There have been incidents in Sweden and Denmark with invasive black widow spiders being found in cars imported from the southern U.S. and according to widely published information dated September 12, 2008, from Naturhistoriska Riksmuseet (The Swedish Museum of Natural History) in Stockholm the black widow spider has established itself in Sweden. The Swedish climate is suitable for black widow spiders and Bert Gustavsson, assistant curator at Naturhistoriska riksmuseet expects that the black widow spider will become a permanent part of the Swedish fauna now that the species have become established. The climate will likely allow the black widow spider to establish itself in large parts of Sweden, although this is rejected by Nikolaj Scharff, an expert in spiders from the Danish Zoological Museum.

Latrodectus mactans and Lactrodectrus hesperus (and Lactrodectrus geometricus, the "brown widow spider") are established in the Hawaiian Islands (USA). One pathway of entry into Hawaii for at least one of these black widow species is imported produce (which is also considered an important potential pathway for widow spiders elsewhere).


Although these spiders are not especially large, their venom is extremely potent (it is also reported to be much more potent than the venom of cobras and coral snakes). Compared to many other species of spiders, their chelicerae are not very large or powerful. In the case of a mature female, the hollow, needle shaped part of each chelicera, the part that penetrates the skin, is approximately 1.0 millimeters (about 0.04 in) long, long enough to inject the venom to a point where it can be harmful. The males, being much smaller, inject far less venom with smaller chelicerae. The actual amount injected, even by a mature female, is very small in physical volume. When this small amount of venom is diffused throughout the body of a healthy, mature human, it usually does not amount to a fatal dose (though it can produce the very unpleasant symptoms of latrodectism). Deaths in healthy adults from Latrodectus bites are relatively rare in terms of the number of bites per thousand people. Sixty-three deaths were reported in the United States between 1950 and 1959. On the other hand, the geographical range of the widow spiders is very great. As a result, far more people are exposed, worldwide, to widow bites than to bites of more dangerous spiders, so the highest number of deaths worldwide are caused by members of their genus. Widow spiders have more potent venom than most spiders, and prior to the development of antivenin, 5 percent of reported bites resulted in fatalities. The venom can cause a swelling up to 15 cm. Improvements in plumbing have greatly reduced the incidence of bites and fatalities in areas where outdoor privies have been replaced by flush toilets.

There are a number of active components in the venom:
  • Latrotoxins.
  • A number of smaller polypeptides - toxins interacting with cation channels which display spatial structure homology - which can affect the functioning of calcium, sodium, or potassium channels.
  • Adenosine.
  • Guanosine.
  • Inosine.
  • 2,4,6-trihydroxypurine.

Black Widow Spider bites

The venom is neurotoxic. When a person is bitten by a black widow spider, it injects a neurotoxin (nerve poison) that can cause a variety of symptoms, including:
  • Immediate pain.
  • Burning.
  • Swelling.
  • Redness at the site of the bite (double fang marks may be visible).
  • Cramping pain and muscle rigidity in the stomach, chest, shoulders, and back.
  • Abdominal pain similar to that of appendicitis.
  • Spastic muscle contractions.
  • Headache.
  • Dizziness.
  • Rash and itching.
  • Restlessness and anxiety.
  • Sweating.
  • Swelling of the eyelids.
  • Nausea and/or vomiting.
  • Salivation and/or tearing of the eyes.
  • Localized tissue death.

In about 4 percent of cases, the black widow bites lead to anaphylactic shock and death. It is important to note, however, that symptoms similar to those of a black widow spider bite can resemble those of other conditions or medical problems. If you suspect a black widow bite, always consult your health care provider for a diagnosis and, if appropriate, emergency treatment.

brown recluse spider - deep yellow and brown color brown recluse spider - brown color


Brown Recluse Spider, common name for a small brownish spider found mainly in the central and southern United States. Also known as the violin spider, it is characterized by a distinct violin-shaped patch on its cephalothorax (head and midregion). Except for the black widow spider and certain related species, the brown recluse spider is the only United States spider whose bite can be dangerous to humans. The brown recluse spider is about 1 cm (about 0.4 in) long and has six eyes. It spins a sheet web that may be found in secluded areas among rocks or in houses. The bite causes a long-lasting sore that involves tissue death, and severe reactions to it may become life-threatening. The spider may live more than ten years. Other species related to the brown recluse spider occur in the Mediterranean area, in Africa, and in most countries of the Americas.

Scientific classification: According to older classification, the brown recluse spider was placed in the family Loxocelidae of the order Araneae, being classified as Loxosceles reclusa. According to new scientific classification, the brown recluse spider, Loxosceles reclusa, is now considered a well-known member of the family Sicariidae (formerly placed in a family "Loxoscelidae").

It is usually between 6-20 mm (1/4 inch and 3/4 inch), but may grow larger. It is brown and sometimes an almost deep yellow color and usually has markings on the dorsal side of its cephalothorax, with a black line coming from it that looks like a violin with the neck of the violin pointing to the rear of the spider, resulting in the nicknames fiddleback spider, brown fiddler or violin spider. Coloring varies from light tan to brown and the violin marking may not be visible.

brown recluse characteristics

Since the violin pattern is not diagnostic, and other spiders may have similar marking (i.e. cellar spiders and pirate spiders), for purposes of identification it is far more important to examine the eyes. Differing from most spiders, which have eight eyes, recluse spiders have six eyes arranged in pairs (dyads) with one median pair and two lateral pairs. Only a few other spiders have 3 pairs of eyes arranged this way (e.g., scytodids), and recluses can be distinguished from these as recluse abdomens have no coloration pattern nor do their legs, which also lack spines.

Habitat: Recluse spiders build irregular webs that frequently include a shelter consisting of disorderly threads. These spiders frequently build their webs in woodpiles and sheds, closets, garages, plenum, cellars and other places that are dry and generally undisturbed. They seem to favor cardboard when dwelling in human residences, possibly because it mimics the rotting tree bark which they inhabit naturally. They also tend to be found in shoes, inside dressers, in bed sheets of infrequently used beds, in stacks of clothes, behind baseboards, behind pictures and near furnaces. The common source of human-recluse contact is during the cleaning of these spaces, when their isolated spaces are suddenly disturbed and the spider feels threatened. Unlike most web weavers, they leave these webs at night to hunt. Males will move around more when hunting with the female spiders tending to remain nearer to their webs.

Distribution: The brown recluse spider is native to the United States from the southern Midwest south to the Gulf of Mexico . The native range lies roughly south of a line from southeastern Nebraska through southern Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana to southwestern Ohio. In the southern states, it is native from central Texas to western Georgia. They are generally not found west of the Rocky Mountains. A related species, the brown violin spider (Loxosceles rufescens), is found in Hawaii. Despite many rumors to the contrary, the brown recluse spider has not established itself in California. There are other species of Loxosceles native to the southwestern part of the United States, including California, that may resemble the brown recluse, but these species have never been documented as medically significant.

Venomous Bite: As indicated by its name, this spider is not aggressive and usually bites only when pressed against the skin, such as when tangled up within clothes, bath towels, or in bedding. In fact, many wounds that are necrotic and diagnosed as brown recluse bites can actually be Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) or simple Staphylococcus Infections. Actual brown recluse bites are rare. Brown recluse bites may produce a range of symptoms known as loxoscelism. There are two types of loxoscelism: cutaneous (skin) and systemic (viscerocutaneous).

Most bites are minor with no necrosis. However, a small number of bites produce severe dermonecrotic lesions, and, sometimes, severe systemic symptoms. These symptoms can include organ damage, and occasionally even death; most fatalities are in children under 7 or those with a weaker than normal immune system. (For a comparison of the toxicity of several kinds of spider bites, see the list of spiders having medically significant venom.)

A minority of brown recluse spider bites form a necrotizing ulcer that destroys soft tissue and may take months to heal, leaving deep scars. The damaged tissue will become gangrenous and eventually slough away. The initial bite frequently cannot be felt and there may be no pain, but over time the wound may grow to as large as 10 inches (25 cm) in extreme cases. Bites usually become painful and itchy within 2 to 8 hours; pain and other local effects worsen 12 to 36 hours after the bite with the necrosis developing over the next few days.

Serious systemic effects may occur before this time, as the venom spreads throughout the body in minutes. Mild symptoms include nausea, vomiting, fever, rashes, and muscle and joint pain. Rarely more severe symptoms occur including hemolysis, thrombocytopenia, and disseminated intravascular coagulation. Debilitated patients, the elderly, and children may be more susceptible to systemic loxoscelism. Deaths have been reported for both the brown recluse and the related South American species L. laeta and L. intermedia. Other recluse species such as the desert recluse (found in the desert southwestern United States) are reported to have caused necrotic bite wounds, though only rarely.

Numerous other spiders have been associated with necrotic bites in the medical literature. A partial list includes the hobo spider and the yellow sac spiders. However, the bites from these spiders are not known to produce the severe symptoms that often follow from a recluse spider bite, and the level of danger posed by each has been called into question. So far, no known necrotoxins have been isolated from the venom of any of these spiders, and some arachnologists have disputed the accuracy of many spider identifications carried out by bite victims, family members, medical responders, and other non-experts in arachnology. There have been several studies questioning danger posed by some of these spiders. In these studies, scientists examined case studies of bites in which the spider in question was positively identified by an expert, and found that the incidence of necrotic injury diminished significantly when "questionable" identifications were excluded from the sample set.

The Official Brown Recluse Spider Web Site



Because black widow spiders bite if they are disturbed, care should be taken in reaching into dark areas. In areas where spider infestations are a problem, the use of a pest control service may also be useful.


  • Reducing the possibility of an encounter with a brown recluse spider starts with eliminating known spider habitats.

  • Perform routine, thorough house cleaning.

  • Reduce clutter in garages, attics, and basements.

  • Move all firewood, building materials, and debris away from the home's foundation.

  • Install tight-fitting window screens and door sweeps.

  • Clean behind outside home shutters.

  • Consider installing yellow or sodium vapor light bulbs outside entrances because these lights are less attractive to insects and draw fewer spiders to the area.

  • Consider professional pest elimination.



  • Remain calm.

  • Ask for immediate medical attention (contact health center, hospital or toxicology center).

  • Apply local ice to lessen the pain, but be careful not to cause injury by excessive cold.

  • The use of tourniquet or other compressive measures is not recommended.

  • Avoid abrupt movements.


    Black Widow Spider Bite Treatment The options for home care are limited. Both cold and warm compresses have been recommended, as have hot baths. Obviously, over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen may be of value in mild cases.

    brown recluse spider bite


    The health care provider will try to make the correct diagnosis. It helps if the patient is able to produce the spider in question. That can often be difficult, because most victims do not even realize they have been bitten before developing symptoms. The health care provider will ask about the bite event, time elapsed since the bite, other medical problems, medications, and allergies.

    Laboratory studies, which may be performed include complete blood count, electrolytes, kidney function studies, blood clotting studies, and urinalysis.

    No specific lab findings can confirm a brown recluse bite. Therefore, a presumptive diagnosis can occur only after a careful history and examination including the likelihood of a bite depending on the part of the country where the patient was bitten. This diagnosis can be confirmed if the spider is available and identified as a brown recluse.


    Home first aid care is simple. This self-care should not replace a visit to a health care provider or emergency department. After a spider bite:
    • Apply ice to decrease pain, inflammation and swelling.
    • Elevate area if possible above the level of the heart.
    • Wash the area thoroughly with cool water and mild soap.
    • Avoid any strenuous activity because this can spread the spider's venom in the skin.
    • Use acetaminophen for pain relief.

    Do not do any of the following these techniques:
    • Do not apply any heat to the area. This will accelerate tissue destruction.
    • Do not apply any steroid creams to the area such as hydrocortisone cream.
    • Do not attempt to remove the spider venom with suction devices or cut out the affected tissue.
    • Do not apply electricity to the area. Anecdotal reports of high voltage electrotherapy from common stun guns have never been shown to be effective in any scientific studies. This can also cause secondary burns and deepen tissue destruction.

    The application of aloe vera to soothe and help control the pain, and prompt medical care.

    If it can be easily captured, the spider should be brought with the patient in a clear, tightly closed container so it may be identified. By the time the bite is noticed, however, any spider found nearby is not likely to be the culprit.

    There is no established treatment for necrosis. Routine treatment should include elevation and immobilization of the affected limb, application of ice, local wound care, and tetanus prophylaxis. Many other therapies have been used with varying degrees of success including hyperbaric oxygen, dapsone, antihistamines (e.g., cyproheptadine), antibiotics, dextran, glucocorticoids, vasodilators, heparin, nitroglycerin, electric shock, curettage, surgical excision, and antivenom. None of these treatments have been subjected to randomized controlled trials to conclusively show benefit. In almost all cases, bites are self-limited and typically heal without any medical intervention.

    It is important to seek medical treatment if a brown recluse bite is suspected, as in the rare cases of necrosis the effects can quickly spread, particularly when the venom reaches a blood vessel. Cases of brown recluse venom traveling along a limb through a vein or artery are rare, but the resulting mortification of the tissue can affect an area as large as several inches, to the extreme of requiring excising of the wound. While it is possible, and even likely, that many cases of "brown recluse bites" are indeed misidentification's of other infections or envenomations, the brown recluse has justly earned its reputation.



    In general, extensive medical evaluation is not necessary. The exceptions are when the history of a black widow bite is not clear, if the bite was not witnessed, and when associated symptoms require the exclusion of more serious disorders, such as heart attack.

    The person bitten by a black widow spider, who has pain severe enough to seek treatment at an Emergency Department, will require narcotic pain relief. Muscle relaxants given by injection may also be of value. Although calcium gluconate given through an IV has long been advocated, it does not seem to produce much relief of symptoms.

    Use of Antivenin: The antivenin available for treatment of black widow spider bites is derived from horse serum. The venom produced by various species of black widow spiders is similar, so the antivenin (antivenin) prepared against one venom is effective against the others. Antivenin is produced by gradually increasing injections of the specific venom in a horse. The horse then starts producing the antivenin, which will be used in humans.

    Symptoms are often not easily relieved, even with narcotics. Some experts recommend that antivenin be used in any severe bite because one vial of the antitoxin produces significant and rapid relief of symptoms. It can even be used if there is delay in reaching the hospital. Yet other sources recommend that antivenin be used only in children, the elderly, and those with severe underlying medical conditions.

    Horse serum-based antivenin carries a significant risk of a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) which can be life-threatening. Skin testing before the serum is administered is therefore recommended. Although another side effect known as serum sickness (characterized by skin lesions, fever, pain in the joints, and swollen lymph glands) is common when horse serum is used to treat rattlesnake bites, it is uncommon when used to treat black widow spider bites (probably because of the low dose needed for relief).

    Be aware, however, that this antivenin may not be readily available at most hospitals; there may be some delay or difficulty in obtaining it when needed.

    Note: The use of the black widow antivenin might sensitize the person against later use of rattlesnake antivenin. Obviously, the physician should discuss lifestyle habits that might affect the person's risk of incurring a snakebite in the future. In many areas, black widow bites are much more common than rattlesnake bites.

    Follow-Up Care: Follow-up is always necessary in cases where antivenin is used. Although serum sickness is uncommon with single-vial doses of horse serum, it may occur 7-12 days after exposure and is characterized by skin lesions, fever, pain in the joints, and swollen lymph glands. The symptoms may occur sooner in a sensitized person. The process is self-limited, goes away in 2-3 weeks, and may be treated with antihistamines and steroids.

    Prognosis: Complications in healthy adults are uncommon. If the black widow spider bite is not treated with antivenin, symptoms may last for several days but are seldom life threatening.


    After initial evaluation, the health care provider may provide the following treatment:
    • Tetanus immunization.
    • Pain medication.
    • Antibiotics if signs of infection are present in the wound.
    • Antihistamines such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl) for itch relief.

    There is no antivenom available in the United States to counteract the poisonous venom of the brown recluse spider. Controversial therapies include steroids and the drug dapsone (Avlosulfon). These are often reserved for people with severe systemic disease (such as certain types of anemia, blood clotting problems, and kidney failure). The therapies have little proven benefit.

    Specific Treatment

  • Dapsone is commonly used in the USA and Brazil for the treatment of necrosis. There have been conflicting reports about its efficacy and some have suggested it should no longer be used routinely, if at all.

  • Wound infection is rare. Antibiotics are not recommended unless there is a credible diagnosis of infection.

  • Studies have shown surgical intervention is ineffective and may worsen outcome. Excision may delay wound healing, cause abscesses, and lead to objectional scarring.

  • Anecdotal evidence suggests benefit can be gained with the application of nitroglycerin patches. The brown recluse venom is a vasoconstrictor, and nitroglycerin causes vasodilation, allowing the venom to be diluted into the bloodstream, and fresh blood to flow to the wound. Theoretically this prevents necrosis, as vasoconstriction may contribute to necrosis. However, one scientific animal study found no benefit in preventing necrosis, with results showing it increased inflammation and it caused symptoms of systemic envenoming. The authors concluded the results of the study did not support the use of topical nitroglycerin in brown recluse envenoming.

  • Antivenom, available in South America, appears to be the most promising therapy. However, antivenoms are most effective if given early and because of the painless bite patients do not often present until 24 or more hours after the event, possibly limiting the effect of this intervention.

  • Misdiagnosis

    It is estimated that 80 percent of reported brown recluse bites may be misdiagnosed. The misdiagnosis of a wound as a brown recluse bite could delay proper treatment of serious diseases. There is now a ELISA-based test for brown recluse venom that can determine if a wound is a brown recluse bite, although it is not commercially available and not in routine use.

    There are numerous documented infectious and noninfectious conditions (including pyoderma gangrenosum, bacterial infections by Staphylococcus and Streptococcus, herpes, diabetic ulcer, fungal infections, chemical burns, toxicodendron dermatitis, squamous cell carcinoma, localized vasculitis, syphilis, toxic epidermal necrolysis, sporotrichosis, and Lyme disease) that produce wounds that have been initially misdiagnosed as recluse bites by medical professionals; many of these conditions are far more common and more likely to be the source of mysterious necrotic wounds, even in areas where recluses actually occur.

    Reported cases of bites occur primarily in Arkansas, Texas, Kansas, Missouri, Colorado, and Oklahoma. There have been many reports of brown recluse bites in California (and elsewhere outside the range of the brown recluse); however the brown recluse is not found in California (though a few related species may be found there, none of which has been shown to bite humans). To date, the reports of bites from areas outside of the spider's native range have been either unverified, or - if verified - specimens moved by travelers or commerce. Gertsch and Ennik (1983) report that occasional spiders have been intercepted in various locations where they have no known established populations; Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Maine, Minnesota, New Jersey, Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Wyoming and Tamaulipas (Mexico), which indicates that these spiders may indeed be transported fairly easily, though the lack of established populations well outside the natural range also indicates that such movement does not lead to colonization of new areas. Many arachnologists believe that many bites attributed to the brown recluse in the West Coast are not spider bites at all, or possibly instead the bites of other spider species; for example, the bite of the hobo spider has been reported to produce similar symptoms, and is found in the northwestern United States and southern British Columbia in Canada. However, the toxicity of the hobo spider has been called into question as bites have not been proven to cause necrosis, and the spider is not considered a problem in its native Europe. In addition, published work has shown that tick-induced Lyme disease rashes are often misidentified as brown recluse spider bites.

    Follow-Up: After the initial evaluation by a health care provider, the patient may expect this type of follow-up:
    • Daily follow-up of wounds with a surgeon for the first 96 hours (3 to 4 days) to assess the possibility or extent of necrosis of wound. Necrotic lesions will need close follow-up. The health care provider may carefully remove dead tissue in necrotic areas to reduce secondary bacterial infections.

    • Hospitalization for people with systemic disease.

    • Continuation of antibiotics until secondary infections clear.


    An allergic reaction is treated with epinephrine (adrenaline). Several self-injectable devices are available by prescription including Epi-Pen, ANA-Kit, and others. These devices are filled with the epinephrine to be injected in to the subcutaneous tissue or muscle, preferably into the front of the thigh. These self-injected devices usually contain only one dose and, on occasion, more than one dose is needed. Venom extractors are commercially available, but they have not been demonstrated to have any benefit.

    If a serious sting occurs medical attention can be necessary, even if epinephrine is used and all seems stable! The allergic reaction can subsequently progress and become more serious after epinephrine has worn off. Sometimes epinephrine is not enough and intravenous fluids or other treatment is needed. If you are known to be seriously allergic to insects you must remember to carry the epinephrine at all times especially when out of reach of medical care (such as in the woods or even on an airplane). If epinephrine is not available when you are stung, contact a health care provider as soon as possible. In addition to epinephrine, an oral dose of antihistamine (like Benadryl) can reduce the symptoms of an allergic reaction. Antihistamines take effect in about one hour. Ultimately, however, it is crucial to first avoid the sting, so such treatment isn't necessary!


    The recommendations for nutritional supplements and herbs outlined below are intended to alleviate pain and hasten healing after appropriate medical care has been administered. They are NOT meant to substitute for medical care.


  • Specific treatment for a brown recluse spider bite will be determined by your health care provider. Treatment may include washing the area well with soap and water; applying a cold or ice pack wrapped in a cloth, or a cold, wet washcloth to the site; applying an antibiotic lotion or cream to protect against infection (especially for children); taking acetaminophen (Tylenol or the equivalent) for pain; elevating the site of the bite if possible to help prevent swelling; and, depending on the severity of the bite, administration of corticosteroids and other medications and/or surgery on the ulcerated area. Hospitalization may be needed.

  • Specific treatment for a black widow spider bite will be determined by your health care provider. Treatment may include washing the area with soap and water; applying a cold or ice pack wrapped in a cloth, or a cold, wet wash cloth to the site (ice should not be applied directly to the skin); application of an antibiotic lotion or cream to protect against infection (especially for children); taking acetaminophen (Tylenol or the equivalent); treatment with muscle relaxants, pain relievers, and/or other medications; plus supportive care. Antivenin (antivenom) may be needed, although it is usually not required. In some cases, hospitalization may be required.

  • In life-threatening cases of spider bite, massive injections of vitamin C and pantothenic acid (vitamin B-5), administered by a medical professional, may be invaluable. This is something only a medical professional can decide.

  • For bites that do not appear life-threatening, a health care provider may administer calcium gluconate to relieve muscle soreness and an anti-anxiety medication for muscle spasms.

  • Hydrocortisone ointment, calamine lotion, or a paste made from baking soda may be used to soothe the wound.

  • Rattlesnake and black widow venom are similar in many respects. Treatment for black widow bite is therefore similar to that of a rattlesnake.

  • If you have been bitten by any type of spider, it is important to be sure that your tetanus immunization is current.


    MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Insect Allergies

    MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Bee Stings

    MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Snakebite


  • Any of the following poultices may be beneficial. See Poultices for more information.

  • Calendula flowers mixed with alcohol and made into tincture should be kept on hand for stings and other "surface" injuries. A poultice made from the fresh flower heads is also good.

  • Herbal Remedies: Calendula Products

    MoonDragon's Health Therapy: Herbal Ointments - Calendula Ointment Recipes

  • A cream containing 5 percent Tea Tree Oil helps to heal insect bites, stings, sunburn, cuts, rashes, and other skin irritations. Tea Tree Oil and Calendula are natural insecticides and help to keep insects at bay. Tea tree oil can be rubbed on exposed areas of the skin to deter insects. It can also be applied to bites. If pure tea tree oil is too strong, dilute it with canola oil or another low-fragrance vegetable oil until a tolerable strength is achieved.

    Herbal Remedies: Tea Tree Essential Oil, 100% Pure, NOW Foods, 1 fl. oz.

  • You can also try Cedar, Eucalyptus, and/or Tea Tree Oil. It is available as a topical cream, oil, spray or lotion to apply to skin irritations.

  • Mountain Rose Herbs: Injur Heal Balm, Mountain Rose, 1 oz.

    A loving companion for athletes, outdoor enthusiasts, and those who take part in strenuous activities. Wonderful to use on bruises, sore muscles, and general aches and pains. This balm is based on our popular & effective Injur Heal Oil. Use immediately after arduous exercise, exertion or injury to prevent, relieve and reduce swelling, bruises and pain. Do not use on open wounds. Contains: Organic Arnica Flowers, St. John's Wort flowers, organic Calendula flowers, organic Olive oil, Beeswax, Lavender essential oil, and Vitamin E oil. Packaged in a 1 oz tin.

  • Apple Cider Vinegar diluted with water in a one-to-one ratio reduces skin irritations resulting from insects.

  • Herbal Remedies: Organic Apple Cider Vinegar (Mother), Dynamic Health, 16 fl. oz.

  • Echinacea taken in tea or capsule form, boosts the immune system.

  • Herbal Remedies: Echinacea Immune Support Tea, Yogi Tea, Certified Organic, 16 Tea Bags.

    Herbal Remedies: Echinacea Tincture For Children, Orange Flavor, Alcohol Free, 100% Organic, 1 fl. oz.

    Herbal Remedies: Echinacea Root Complex, Nature's Way, 180 Caps

    Herbal Remedies: 5-Echinacea Supplement, Vegetarian, Herbal Remedies USA, 1,000 mg, 60 Liquid VCaps

    Herbal Remedies: Echinacea Extract, Standardized, Nature's Way, 340 mg, 60 Caps

    Herbal Remedies: EchinaGuard Echinacea Supplement Tincture, Nature's Way, 1 fl. oz.

    Herbal Remedies: Echinacea Products & Supplements

  • Ginkgo Biloba helps to relieve muscle pains.

  • Herbal Remedies: Ginkgo Leaf Powder (Ginkgo Biloba), 4 oz. Bulk

    Herbal Remedies: Irwin Naturals Advanced Ginkgo Smart, 90 GelCaps

    Herbal Remedies: Ginkgo Biloba Extract, Standardized, Nature's Way, 60 mg, 120 VCaps

    Herbal Remedies: Ginkgold Max, Ginkgo Biloba Extract, Vegetarian, Nature's Way, 120 mg, 60 Tabs

    Herbal Remedies: Ginkgo Biloba Herbal Tea, 20 Tea Bags

    Herbal Remedies: Ginkgo Supplements & Products

  • Yellow Dock purifies the blood and is beneficial for many problems affecting the skin. Drink as much Yellow Dock tea as you can, or take 2 capsules of Yellow Dock every hour until symptoms are relieved.

  • Herbal Remedies: Yellow Dock Root, 500 mg, 100 Caps

    Herbal Remedies: Yellow Dock Supplement Tincture, 2 fl. oz.

    Herbal Remedies: Yellow Dock Supplements & Products


  • Use essential oils of Basil, Cinnamon, Lavender, Lemon, Sage, Savory, or Thyme for their antitoxic and antivenin properties. Apply a drop of essential oil on the sting.

  • Clary Sage Essential Oil or a mixture of fresh Clary Sage (Salvia Sclarea) leaves boiled in Coconut Oil is a common first-aid treatment and cure in Jamaica for scorpion Stings. A cold extract has been applied topically can help reduce inflammation.

  • Make a paste using a Charcoal capsule and a few drops of Goldenseal extract and place it on a piece of gauze. Apply the gauze to the bite or sting and cover it with a bandage. This will draw out the poisons and aid in fast relief. Do this immediately after being bitten, if possible. Use charcoal only recommended for internal use.

  • Herbal Remedies: Goldenseal Root Tincture (Hydrastis Canadensis), 100% Organic, 2 fl. oz.

    Mountain Rose Herbs: Goldenseal Extract, Wild Harvested From Fresh Root, 1 oz or 4 oz

    Herbal Remedies: Activated Charcoal Supplement, Nature's Way, 260 mg, 100 Caps

  • Apply calamine lotion to help relieve itching.


    The following nutrients are important for healing once appropriate medical treatment has been administered. These are not a substitute for conventional medical treatment but are used as a complementary recommendation to speed the healing process and build up the immune system.

    Unless otherwise specified, the following recommended doses are for those over the age of 18. For a child between 12 and 17 years old, reduce the dose to 3/4 the recommended amount. For a child between 6 and 12 years old, use 1/2 the recommended dose, and for a child under 6, use 1/4 the recommended amount.

    Supplement Suggested Dosage Comments
    Calcium 1,000-2,000 mg daily until the wound heals. Helps relieve pain.
    Calcium Ionic Mineral Supplement, Fully Absorbable, 700 +/- ppm, 16 fl. oz.,
    Liquid Calcium W/ConcenTrace, Orange Vanilla, Trace Minerals, 1000 mg, 32 fl. oz.,
    Cal-Mag Pre-Chelated Calcium & Magnesium, Vital Earth, 240 Gelcaps
    Magnesium 500-1,000 mg daily until the wound heals. Essential for normal cell function and division. Needed to balance with and helps uptake of calcium.
    Magnesium Ionic Mineral Supplement, Fully Absorbable, 350 +/- ppm, 16 fl. oz.,
    Just An Ounce Calcium & Magnesium Liquid, Almond Flavor, 16 fl. oz.,
    Calcium & Magnesium Mineral Complex, 100% Natural, Nature's Way, 500 mg / 250 mg, 250 Caps
    Activated Charcoal 6-10 Capsules as soon as possible after the bite or sting, taken with a glass of water. Do not take with other supplements or medications. A powerful detoxifying agent. Take immediately after being bitten or stung, if possible.
    Activated Charcoal Supplement, Nature's Way, 260 mg, 100 Caps
    Dimethylglycine (DMG) As directed on label. Enhances immunity and detoxifies the body.
    DMG Supplement, N,N Dimethyl Glycine, NOW Foods, 125 mg, 100 Caps
    Flax Seed Oil As directed on label. Reduces pain and inflammation and aids recovery.
    Barlean's Flax Oil, 100% Highest Lignan Content, Organic, Pesticide & Herbicide Free, 16 fl. oz.,
    Barlean's Flax Oil, Highest Lignan, 1000 mg, 250 Caps
    Herpanacine As directed on label. Promotes good skin health and detoxifies the body.
    Multi-Vitamin & Mineral Complex As directed on label. All nutrients are needed to maintain a balance of all essential nutrients for healing and for immune response.
    Super Multi-Vitamin & Multi-Mineral, Pure Vital Earth, 32 fl. oz. (98% Bio-Available for Absorption),
    Damage Control Master Formula, High Potency, Multi-Vitamin & Mineral, 60 Packets (30 Day Supply),
    Multi-Vitamin With Minerals, Hi-Tech, 90 Tabs,
    Liquid Multi-Vitamin & Mineral Complex With Trace Minerals, Orange Mango, 32 fl. oz.,
    Liquid Multi-Vita-Mineral, Strawberry Raspberry, Trace Minerals, 32 fl. oz.,
    Multi-Vitamin & Mineral Complete, Trace Minerals, 120 Tabs,
    Maxi Multi-Liquid Vitamin With Trace Minerals, 32 fl. oz.,
    Alive! Whole Food Energizer, Liquid Multi-Vitamin & Trace Minerals, Citrus Flavor, Nature's Way, 30 oz.,
    Hypo-Allergenic Multiple Vitamin & Mineral, Nutribiotic, 180 Caps
    Grape Seed Extract
    As directed on label.

    As directed on label.
    A free radical scavenger that also strengthens collagen. Protects the skin, reduces inflammation, and enhances immunity.
    Pycnogenol W/ Vitamin E, 100% Natural, Nature's Way, 50 mg, 30 Tabs, Grape Seed (Grapeseed) (Vitus vinifera), 100% Pure, NOW Foods, 16 fl. oz.
    Ultimate Cleanse
    Nature's Secret
    As directed on label. Stimulates and detoxifies the organs and blood.
    Ultimate Cleanse, 2-Part Internal Cleansing Program, Includes 2 Free CD's, Nature's Secret, 240 Tabs
    Vitamin A 10,000 IU daily. If you are pregnant, do not exceed 10,000 IU daily. Enhances immunity and protects the body from bacteria.
    Vitamin A, 10,000 IU, 100% Natural, Nature's Way, 100 Softgels,
    Vitamin A, Fish Liver Oil, NOW Foods, 25,000 IU, 250 Softgels,
    Dry Vitamin A & D, Nature's Way, 15,000 IU / 400 IU, 100 Caps,
    Shark Liver Oil With Vitamin A, NOW Foods, 400 mg / 10,000 IU, 120 Softgels
    Natural Beta-Carotene
    Carotenoid Complex
    As directed on label. Powerful antioxidants that boost the immune system.
    Beta Carotene (Natural Dunaliella Salina), Nature's Way, 100% Natural, 25,000 IU, 100 Softgels,
    Multi-Carotene Antioxidant, Nature's Way, 60 Softgels
    Vitamin B Complex As directed on label. B vitamins are needed for healthy skin. Maintains healthy nerves and skin. A sublingual form is recommended.
    Ultimate B (Vitamin B Complex), Nature's Secret, 60 Tabs,
    Vitamin B-100 Complex, w/ Coenzyme B-2, Nature's Way, 631 mg, 100 Caps
    Vitamin B-5 (Pantothenic Acid)
    500 mg daily. Has anti-allergenic and anti-stress properties.
    Vitamin B-5 (Pantothenic Acid), Nature's Way, 250 mg, 100 Caps
    Vitamin C With Bioflavonoids 1,000 mg every hour until pain and swelling subside. Aids in detoxifying the venom and eliminating it from the body. Very important in crisis allergy situations.
    Vitamin C Liquid w/ Rose Hips & Bioflavonoids, Kosher, Natural Citrus Flavor, Dynamic Health, 1000 mg, 16 fl. oz.,
    Ester C With Bioflavonoids, Nature's Way, 1000 mg, 90 Tabs,
    Vitamin C 1000 With Bioflavonoids, Nature's Way, 100% Natural, 1000 mg, 250 VCaps,
    The Right C, Nature's Way, 1000 mg, 120 Tabs
    Vitamin E Apply topically to the affected area 3 to 4 times daily. A potent antioxidant. Aids in healing and relieves discomfort. Purchase in oil form or cut open a capsule to release the oil.
    Ester E Natural Vitamin E, California Natural, 400 IU, 60 Softgels,
    Vitamin E, 400 IU, 100% Natural, NOW Foods, 100 Gels,
    Vitamin E-1000, NOW Foods, 1000 IU, 100 Gels,
    Vitamin E, d-alpha-tocopherol, 400 IU, 100 Softgels
    Zinc 60-90 mg daily. Do not exceed a total of 100 mg daily from all supplements. Boosts immune response. Also acts as a natural insect repellent. Use zinc gluconate lozenges or OptiZinc for best absorption.
    Zinc Ionic Mineral Supplement, Fully Absorbable, 100 +/- ppm, 16 fl. oz.,
    Colloidal Silver & Zinc Lozenges, Silva Solution, 90 Lozenges,
    Zinc Lozenges W/ Echinacea & Vitamin C, Nature's Way, 23 mg, 60 Lozenges,
    Zinc (Chelated), 100% Natural, Nature's Way, 30 mg, 100 Caps


    Information, supplements and products for spider bites, insect bites and stings.

    Activated Charcoal Supplement, Nature's Way, 260 mg, 100 Caps

    Nature's Way Activated charcoal supplement captures unwanted material of gas and carries it safely through the digestive system.
    Bach Rescue Remedy Flower Essence Cream, 50 g

    Bach Rescue Remedy Cream Flower Essence Cream base that can be used for any stress or trauma to your skin. Safe and natural. A great addition to your herbal first aid kit.
    Bentonite Clay, Pascalite, 100 Caps

    Pascalite is a form of calcium bentonite containing at least twenty elements including iron, magnesium, and silicon, better than sodium bentonite. Uses as skin cleanser, conditioner, internally for heartburn, ulcers and for a natural mineral dietary supplement.
    Barlean's Flax Oil, Highest Lignan, 1000 mg, 250 Caps

    Barlean's Flax Oil Capsules are the best selling Flax Oil Capsule. Barlean's Flax Oil Capsules are produced from one of the best pure and pristine flax oil providing essential Omega-3 with the highest Lignan content for your good health.
    Bromelain 2000 GDU Supplement, NOW Foods, 500 mg, 90 Tabs

    NOW Foods Bromelain 2000 GDU, Bromelain Supplement, is a proteolytic digestive enzyme that can enhance absorption of protein.
    Bug Ban Natural Insect Repellant, NOW Foods, 4 oz.

    Don't let a swarm of hungry mosquitoes ruin an evening of summer fun. NOW Bug Ban is an all natural insect repellent that helps prevent insect bites without the harsh chemicals found in many of today's popular, commercial formulas.
    Burt's Bees Bug Bite Relief, 0.25 oz.

    When nature bites, fight back with this all-natural Burt's Bees Bug Bite Relief.
    Burt's Bees Herbal Insect Repellent, 4 oz. Spray

    Burt's Bees Herbal Insect Repellent is safe enough to apply with confidence to adults, children and pets for long lasting natural protection against biting insects.
    Burt's Bees Natural Remedy Kit, All Natural

    Burt's Bees Natural Remedy Kit is perfect for relieving the discomfort of minor skin irritations, burns, bruises, stings and scrapes. Included is Poison Ivy Soap, lip balm, hand salve, comfrey ointment, gardener's soap, natural peppermint breath drops and lemongrass insect repellant. Burt's Bees Natural Remedy Kit is a wonderful camping-size, briefcase size, suitcase size, glove-box size, or picnic basket size take-a-long kit for campers, farmers, athletes, gardeners, or just those with a love of the great outdoors, wind, rain, bugs, dirt, plants, animals, or whatever else makes you sting, itch or chap. This is a mini must have herbal first aid kit! These is also a great little unique gift idea.
    Calendula Cream, Nelson's Bach, Organic, 30 g / 1 oz.

    Nelson's Bach Calendula cream is a soothing multi-purpose skin cream, especially prepared from the Calendula which offers soothing relief for rough, dry, irritated or chapped skin. Helps to restore healthy skin texture. Made with organically grown Calendula officinalis which provides relief for burns, and is gentle enough for rashes and chafing on babies sensitive skin. Directions: Check that the tube seal is not broken before first use. Pierce tube seal with point in tip of cap before first use. Apply the cream to the affected area & rub in lightly. Warnings: For external use only.
    Citronella Essential Oil, NOW Foods, 1 fl. oz.

    Citronella Oil (Cymbopogon nardus) is an excellent topical oil that can be applied directly onto the skin to protect against insect bites.
    Colloidal Silver & Zinc Lozenges, SilvaSolution, 90 Lozenges

    Now you can get powerful liquid silver in the most convenient form ever with new Silva Solution Silver and Zinc Lozenges.
    Colloidal Silver Lotion, SilvaSolution, Homeopathic, 4 fl. oz.

    Effective for minor skin irritations, rashes hives, insect bites, sores, burns, inflammation, skin swelling and dry, itchy, cracked skin.
    Comfrey Leaf Powder, 4 oz. Bulk

    One of the most well-known healing plants, especially for its ability to heal tissue and bone.
    Comfrey Leaf Ointment, Nature's Way, 2 oz.

    Comfrey Leaf Ointment is a 100% all natural, mild scented herbal ointment.
    Cyani (Centaurea Cyanus) Tincture, 2 fl. oz.

    Considered by the Plains Indians as an antidote for snake bites, insect bites and stings. Beneficial for nervous disorders, infections, eye disorders, and mouth sores/ulcers.
    DMG Supplement, N,N Dimethyl Glycine, Now Foods, 125 mg, 100 Caps

    NOW Foods' DMG Supplement is a methylated amino acid found in all cells. DMG is an antioxidant and methyl donor that has a number of beneficial effects. It has shown to have potential in increasing immune response to the flu and salmonella.
    Flax Protein / Fiber / Lignan Cold Milled Powder Plus Omega 2, Certified Organic, Nature's Way, 16 oz.

    With 6 grams Fiber / 300 mg Lignan / 5 grams Protein (including 18 amino acids) per serving. Nature's Way EFAGold is one of Nature's richest sources of protein, fiber & essential fatty acids.
    Ginkgold Ginkgo Biloba Extract, Nature's Way, Vegetarian, Standardized, 60 mg, 150 Tabs

    Nature's Way Ginkgold ginkgo biloba extract has been proven to support healthy circulation to the brain as well as the extremities.
    Goldenseal Root Tincture (Hydrastis Canadensis), 100% Organic, 2 fl. oz.

    Goldenseal is an antibacterial and antiseptic. Use especially when mucus turns thick and discolored. Use short term only with other herbs.
    Grape Seed Extract, Standardized, Nature's Way, 100 mg, 30 Caps

    Nature's Way Standardized Grape Seed Extract are technically and scientifically advanced herbal product.
    Jewelweed Liquid Spray, Poison Ivy Treatment, 4 fl. oz.

    Jewelweed is an effective natural Poison Ivy Treatment for poison ivy, poison oak, okra spines, stinging nettle, and other irritating plants
    Just An Ounce Liquid Calcium & Magnesium, Almond Flavor, 16 fl. oz.

    Just An Ounce, Calcium and Magnesium Liquid can help with the development of strong bones and teeth, also prevents muscle cramping, risk of colon cancer, maintain regular heart beat, protects against osteoporosis and helps relax the central nervous system.
    Lavender Oil, 1 fl. oz.

    There are many uses for lavender oil. It calms the nervous system, making it a sedative. It also reduces stress in the body with its anti-spasmodic qualities. When the body is relaxed, the mind can also relax. A tea made of lavender can be consumed as a sedative. Lavender oil can be placed, a drop at a time, on the temples to relieve headache, or in the bath to relax. Other uses of lavender oil, mixed with water or other herbal oils, are to relieve joint pain, as an antiseptic, and to aid digestion. But lavender's most common use is in reducing stress and headaches.
    Mosquito & Insect Shield With Catnip Oil, Nature's Herbal, 100% Natural, 8 fl. oz. Spray

    For long lasting natural protection against mosquitoes, flies and other pests without the dangers of DEET based repellants. This shield contains 100% pure Catnip oil (nepetalactone), Pennyroyal oil (known to repel biting insects) & Pure Vegetable Glycerin for up to 8 hours of protection. Studies show Catnip oil is 10 times more effective than DEET at repelling mosquitoes.
    Neem Protect Natural Flea Spray For Pets, 8 fl. oz.

    Ark Naturals Neem Protect Natural Flea Spray provides a safe, effective natural alternatives to synthetic pesticides for controlling fleas and other blood sucking insects that infest your pets.
    Neem Protect Pet Shampoo, 1 Gallon

    Ark Naturals Neem Protect Pet Shampoo provides a safe, effective natural alternatives to synthetic pesticides for controlling fleas and other blood sucking insects that infest your pets.
    Neem Protect Pet Shampoo, 8 fl. oz.

    Ark Naturals Neem Protect Pet Shampoo provides a safe, effective natural alternatives to synthetic pesticides for controlling fleas and other blood sucking insects that infest your pets.
    Neem Protect Spray, 1/2 Gallon

    Ark Naturals Neem Protect Spray provides a safe, effective natural alternatives to synthetic pesticides for controlling fleas and other blood sucking insects that infest your pets.
    Olbas Oil Blend, 100% Natural, Swiss Made, 25 cc

    Olbas Oil Blend is a synergistic combination of six essential oils provides amazing relief on multiple levels.
    Organic Flax Protein / Fiber / Lignan Cold Milled Powder Plus Omega 3, Certified, Nature's Way, 16 oz.

    Nature's Way EFAGold is the highest quality flax seed protein powder, and one of nature's richest sources of protein, fiber & essential fatty acids.
    Pascalite Bentonite Healing Powder, 16 oz.

    Pascalite is used in soap and toothpaste, applied as a poultice to insect bites, sunburns, infections, cold sores, canker sores and acne, and as a suppository for hemorrhoids. Users found it a potent skin cleanser and conditioner, drank it for heartburn and ulcers.
    Patio Candle, 2.25 Inch Round in Travel Tin, All Natural, 100% Palm Wax

    All natural palm wax candle in travel tin with herbal essential oils to repel bugs.
    Pennyroyal Essential Oil (Hedeoma Pulegiodes), NOW Foods, 100% Pure, 1 fl. oz.

    Traditionally used as a natural insect repellent, Pennyroyal Oil is especially useful for flea control on dogs and cats.
    Quercetin With Bromelain, Hypoallergenic Bioflavonoid, NOW Foods, 800 mg, 120 VCaps

    This non-citrus Quercetin is non-allergenic, with Bromelain to enhance the absorption of Quercetin.
    Sss Sting Stop Insect Gel, Homeopathic, Boericke & Tafel, 2.75 oz. Topical Gel

    Temporary relief of itch, pain, and redness of non-poisonous insect bites and stings of mosquitos, bees, and wasps. Soothes fever blisters and cold sores. Directions: For Adults & Children 2 years and older: Apply to affected skin area. Repeat as needed. Children under 2: Consult your health care provider.
    Sting Homeopathic Gel, Organic, 1.06 oz.

    Nelson's Sting Gel is a healing and soothing homeopathic remedy for the relief of insect bites and stings & reduces redness and swelling.
    Tea Tree Antiseptic Cream, 4 fl. oz.

    This tea tree cream has a soothing and cooling effect on inflamed skin. It can be used as diaper change lotion.
    Tea Tree Antiseptic Cream, Bulk, 1 Gallon

    This tea tree cream has a soothing and cooling effect on inflamed skin. It can be massaged into sore joints for relief from discomfort.
    Tea Tree Oil Antiseptic Ointment, 2 oz.

    A 100% natural Tea Tree Oil antiseptic ointment that combines a therapeutic dose of pure tea tree oil with the absorption powers of Australian Eucalyptus australiana oil and lavender oil. This Tea Tree Oil antiseptic ointment is an ideal treatment to protect and treat cuts, abrasions, chafing rashes and other skin irritations. Directions: Apply 2-3 times daily to minor rashes, cuts, abrasions, sunburn and insect bites. Its natural base of oils and beeswax repels water to protect the area. Avoid contact with eyes. Discontinue use if irritation develops. Keep out of reach of children. For external use only.
    Tea Tree Oil Antiseptic Solution (15% Water Soluble), 2 fl. oz.

    Tea Tree Oil Antiseptic Solution can be used for mixing with water for douching, athletes foot, facial problems, and bathing. Use Tea Tree Oil Antiseptic Solution when full strength tea tree oil is not necessary. Directions: For use a mild natural antiseptic. Apply full strength to cuts, abrasions, insect bites and stings. May be diluted with 1 to 10 parts water. This product is water soluble.
    Tea Tree Essential Oil, 100% Pure, NOW Foods, 1 fl. oz.

    Tea Tree Essential Oil can be used externally as a completely natural germicide and fungicide. Our Tea Tree Essential Oil can be applied directly to the site of infection or irritation, such as pimples, boils, cuts, insect bites and minor burns.
    Tea Tree Oil Bulk (Malaleuca Alternifolia), 32 fl. oz.

    Bulk Tea Tree Oil can be used for so many things including cuts, burns, abrasions, insect bites, bee stings, rashes, impetigo, boils, sinus problems, sore throat, thrush, fingernail and toenail infections.
    Tea Tree Oil (Malaleuca Alternifolia), 100% Pure Oil, NOW Foods, 2 fl. oz.

    Tea Tree Oil can be used for general first aid uses such as cuts, burns, abrasions, insect bites, bee stings, rashes, impetigo, boils, sinus problems, sore throat, thrush, fingernail and toenail infections.
    Thayer's Astringent Medicated Superhazel Mentholated With Aloe Vera, 11.5 fl. oz.

    Medicated Superhazel Thayer's Astringent with Aloe Vera is a mentholated witch hazel providing instant cooling and relief for minor cuts, itches, rashes and burns.
    Vitamin B-100 Complex, With CoEnzyme B-2, Nature's Way, 631 mg, 100 Caps

    A complete Vitamin B complex of 8 essential vitamins. B Vitamins are precursors of coenzymes involved in the conversion of cellular energy, manufacture of hormones and proteins, and repair and maintenance of nerve structures.
    Vitamin C 1000 With Bioflavonoids, Nature's Way, 100% Natural, 1000 mg, 250 VCaps

    Nature's Way Vitamin C with Bioflavonoids provides antioxidant protection for many of the body's important enzyme systems.
    Yerba Santa Tincture, 100% Organic, 2 fl. oz.

    Yerba Santa is one of the best decongestant herbs as it helps to decrease secretions as well as allay inflammation.


  • Herbal Remedies: Insect Bite / Sting Information

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    Treatment for serious reactions to a black widow spider's bite will be beyond the scope of most medical offices and urgent care centers. Pain relief may require the use of narcotics and antivenin (antitoxin to counteract the effects of the spider venom).

    The decision to seek emergency care should be made early. If the person who was bitten by a black widow spider has more than minor pain or has whole-body symptoms, seek care at a hospital's Emergency Department. If symptoms are severe, call 9-1-1 for emergency medical transport so that evaluation and treatment can start en route to the hospital.


    If you think you or someone you know has been bitten by a brown recluse spider, then the individual should be seen by a health care provider that day. If possible, bring the spider in question to the health care provider's office. Identification of the spider is very helpful in making the correct diagnosis.

    If the patient is unable to be seen by a doctor that day, should seek care at a hospital's Emergency Department.


  • You have if you've had an allergic reaction, it is important to talk to an allergist, a health care provider who is a specialist in the diagnosis and treatment of allergic disease. Based on your past history and certain tests, the allergist will determine if you are a candidate for immunotherapy treatment. Although stinging insect allergy is a serious problem, much of the risk and fear of a reoccurrence can be virtually eliminated with immunotherapy.

  • In the event of a insect bite or sting with an allergic reaction, use your epinephrine treatment kit and contact emergency medical care immediately or as soon as possible for medical evaluation. A severe allergic reaction can be life threatening in a matter of minutes to hours.

  • You develop a secondary infection from an insect sting or insect bite or if you have other symptoms that may be associated with a disease that type of insect is known to carry (such as Lyme Disease, West Nile Virus, etc.).

  • You have any unexplained symptoms or unusual reactions after receiving an insect bite or sting. If you can, try to contain or otherwise save the insect that bit or stung you to make sure that treatment is appropriately given for that type of injury.


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