Brown Recluse Spider Bite

ExitCare ImageThe brown recluse spider is dark brown or light tan. It has a dark spot shaped like a violin on its back. The whole spider (with legs) can grow to be 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) long. Brown recluse spider bites can be serious and life-threatening.


  • Do not scratch the bite. Keep the bite clean and covered with a bandage.

  • Wash the bite every day with warm, soapy water.

  • Put ice on the bite.

  • Put ice in a plastic bag.

  • Place a towel between your skin and the bag.

  • Leave the ice on for 20 to 30 minutes, 3 to 4 times a day, or as told by your doctor.

  • Keep the bite raised (elevated) above the level of your heart.

  • Only take medicines as told by your doctor.

You may need a tetanus shot if:

  • You cannot remember when you had your last tetanus shot.

  • You have never had a tetanus shot.

  • The injury broke your skin.

If you need a tetanus shot and you choose not to have one, you may get tetanus. Sickness from tetanus can be serious.


  • Your sore (lesion) is getting larger (more than ¼ inch [5 millimeters]), growing deeper, or looks infected.

  • You have chills or a fever.

  • You feel sick to your stomach (nauseous) or throw up (vomit).

  • You have muscle aches, shaking (convulsions), or a red rash.

  • You feel weak or very tired.

  • You are producing less pee (urine).

  • You have blood in your pee, or you notice other bleeding.

  • Your skin turns yellow.

  • Your problems do not get better after 24 hours, or they get worse.

  • You have more pain in the bite area.


  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch your condition.

  • Will get help right away if you are not doing well or get worse.