Skip to Content
Home > Wellness > Health Library > Brown Recluse Spider Bite
Brown recluse, violin, or fiddleback (Loxosceles) spiders are about
0.5 in. (1.3 cm) long with a
dark violin-shaped mark on the combined head and midsection (cephalothorax).
They are found most often in the south-central part of the United States and
live in hot, dry, abandoned areas, such as wood or rock piles.
See a picture of a
brown recluse spider.
Brown recluse spider bites don't always hurt right away. In fact,
you may not know that you have been bitten until other symptoms appear.
Symptoms of a brown recluse spider bite include:
Some people have a severe, systemic (whole-body) reaction to
brown recluse spider bites, including the rapid destruction of red blood cells
and anemia (hemolytic anemia). Signs and symptoms include:
If you think you have been bitten by a
brown recluse spider:
A brown recluse bite can be serious and may require immediate
medical care. Call a doctor if:
A brown recluse spider bite is diagnosed through a physical
examination and questions about the bite. You should be prepared to describe
the spider, where and when the bite took place, and what you were doing at the
time. (If you are able to safely capture and transport the spider, bring it
with you to show your doctor.) Your doctor will ask what your main symptoms
are, when they began, and how they have developed, progressed, or changed since
Medicine to counteract brown recluse spider venom is not
available in the United States or Canada. Treatment depends on how severe the
bite is. For bites that:
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy may also be used for tissue damage from a spider bite.
Medicines that may be used include:
Current as of:
June 4, 2014
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
To learn more, visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2014 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.