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Backpacker Magazine – September 2011

Rip & Live: Spiders

Itsy bitsy? Sure, but spiders loom large in hiker phobias. They shouldn't: Only a few subspecies of the black widow and brown recluse can inflict enough damage to cut short a hike. Here's what you need to know about North America's most venomous spiders, from how to avoid them to treating their bites.

by: Gordy Megroz

PAGE 1 2 3 4
Black widow (Michael H. Francis)
Black widow (Michael H. Francis)
Brown recluse (S. Camazine/K. Visscher)
Brown recluse (S. Camazine/K. Visscher)
Infected brown recluse bite (Dale Losher)
Infected brown recluse bite (Dale Losher)
Spider anatomy (Illustration by Supercorn)
Spider anatomy (Illustration by Supercorn)





Anatomy of a Spider

>> Chelicarae
These scary-looking mouth parts include fangs and venom glands. Usually, they’re not robust enough to penetrate human skin.
>> Scopula
Tiny hairs cover spiders’ bodies, allowing them to sense sounds, smells, and vibration. Scopula, thick tufts on the claws, provide purchase so spiders can scale walls.
>> Eyes
Most spiders have eight eyes (the brown recluse has just six), and many hunting spiders can see ultraviolet light, which makes their prey pop.
>> Legs
The arachnid calling card, leg arrangements are also subspecies identifiers. Each leg has upwards of seven segments and 30 muscles: Some spiders can jump 50 times their own length.
>> Spinnerets
Producing steel-strength silk, these amino-acidexcreting organs help spiders build egg sacs, spin prey-catching webs, and parachute to new homes.

-----

Spider Bite First Aid
Treat any arachnid attack to minimize painful symptoms and prevent infection.

>> Use soap and water (hand sanitizer works, too) to clean the bite. “In the past 15 years in the U.S.,” says Westerfield, “two people have died, not specifically from the bite, but from secondary skin infections.”
>> Ice or cool the wound. “Cooling prevents blood vessels from pumping the spiders venom much farther than the bite spot,” says Verret.
>> Elevate the bite site to heart level, which will further decrease swelling. Also remove rings, watches, and anything that may restrict circulation.
>> Pop an anti-inflammatory (like ibuprofen or aspirin) or the strongest painkiller you have. “The symptoms of a black widow bite are very painful cramps,” reminds Westerfield, and medical attention may ease patient anxiety, nausea, and pain.
>> If there are signs of a secondary infection—the bite site is hot to the touch, red, or swelling after six hours—go to a doctor right away.
>> Contact the Poison Control Center (800-222-1222) to report a bite and for information about symptom management if you suspect one.
>> DO NOT cut the wound to try drawing out the venom, or use batteries to try and neutralize it. These old-wives’-tale treatments can make the wound worse and kill more tissue.

PAGE 1 2 3 4

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I was bitten in 2007 by a brown recluse at work. While researching for information on remedies I came across the Brown recluse first aid kit at http://www.brown-recluse.com/spiderinfo.html I bought one of the kit rush delivery and after using it quickly reversed the narcosis in the wound in 1 day and I was completely healed in 4 days. The product worked for me then and also worked this week when my wife came home form work claiming she had got bitten on the leg at work. I examined the wound and could see two puncture holes and concluded it was a spider bite. The bite swelling was already about 2" round. I applied the product twice a day for 3 days and it never reached the narcosis stage is completely healed now.

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Oct 14, 2012

Congress should all have testicle bites, lmfao!

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Oct 14, 2012

Testicle bites.... Ouch! lol

Richard
Oct 13, 2012

I can deal with spiders. But congress is another problem.

Brian McCue
Apr 28, 2012

It's the ticks here in the northeast that scare the hell out of me FAR more than any other living thing in the woods!

Pfk
Apr 28, 2012

Should I use my bee sting epipen if bitten by a spider or snake??

Ralph
Apr 27, 2012

Thanks for the article. Snakes, bears, scorpions, and now the lowdown on spyders. Guess I'll wear a HAZMAT suit next time I go out hiking. Let me google that.

Ralph
Apr 27, 2012

Thanks for the article. Snakes, bears, scorpions, and now the lowdown on spyders. Guess I'll wear a HAZMAT suit next time I go out hiking. Let me google that.

OlTrailDog
Apr 27, 2012

Lets not also forget the Corvair Spyder. Infamously tagged as being "Unsafe at any Speed" by Ralph the Green Nadar

Adam
Apr 27, 2012

This is a nice article. I don't really worry about spider when hiking or camping, I see them all the time. What I try to watch out for is snakes. I still don't worry about them, but I do watch for them more than spiders.

Adam
Apr 27, 2012

This is a nice article. I don't really worry about spider when hiking or camping, I see them all the time. What I try to watch out for is snakes. I still don't worry about them, but I do watch for them more than spiders.

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