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Brown Recluse Spider Bite in Minnesota?

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By lindalou246

Updated June 10, 2010

Brown Recluse Spider Bite in Minnesota?

Recluse bite after 4 weeks

Brown Recluse Spider Bite in Minnesota?

Recluse bite after 7 weeks

Tell us where your bite is (arm, leg, nose, whatever)

Upper thigh

Why I think it's a spider bite

I have seen several doctors for this unusual bite, and have been told by 2 of them that this has to be a BRS bite, as nothing else could cause this type of rapid tissue necrosis and continuing nausea, chills, and leg pain.

What happened

On April 1, 2010, I had spent the day doing yard work, and laying wood chips around my patio. That evening, I spent a couple of hours cleaning out a storage closet in my home.

The next morning, I awoke and felt a burning, stinging sensation on the upper part of my leg. I looked and saw a red, swollen area the size of a quarter. Within a few hours a large blister had formed. The next day the blister turned into a deep painful ulcer with a small back dot in the middle. All the time, the bite burned intensely and I had shooting pains going from my hip and down my leg. I couldn't sleep at all, as the pain wouldn't ease up.

On day 5, I developed chills, headache, nausea and body aches.

At this point I went to my internist, who put me on antibiotics and said I must have some type of flesh eating bacterial infection. He took a swab from the wound and did a culture. The culture came back negative. The wound was now black with bright red edges, and the pain and flu like symptoms continued.

At this time my MD added another antibiotic.

For 3 weeks, I could barely get out of bed, couldn't sleep (due to the pain) and was vomiting to the point that I couldn't keep water down. I was given IV fluids in the emergency room. More tests were run and again the doctor was stumped by my symptoms -- the necrotic skin wound -- and again no diagnosis. (My hemagram and blood cultures were still normal) Again I was started on another antibiotic.

After 1 month, with no diagnosis and no improvement of my wound (still black, no healing taking place and continuous leg pain, nausea, chills and body aches) I was told to see a surgeon, as I would probably need skin grafts to heal.

Finally, 5 weeks into this nightmare, I was told by the surgeon that this looked to him like a brown recluse spider bite, but I would be best to just leave it alone.

I began researching the brown recluse. All of my symptoms fit perfectly. Why do doctors in Minnesota not have a clue that these awful critters are alive and well in this state?

I continue to feel very ill and still have no wound healing after 2 months. I have now seen 2 surgeons, 4 family doctors and 2 infectious disease specialists. So far they are divided on the brown recluse spider issue, some saying this is absolutely a brown recluse spider bite, the others insisting there are none in this state. (But interestingly, they have been unable to come up with any other diagnosis)

This site has given me encouragement, knowing that others have gone through this same frustrating experience.

Advice

All I can say is, best of luck to anyone with a brown recluse spider bite.

  • Stay positive and do as much research as possible, then bring your info to the doctor. Expect to encounter skepticism. The medical community (outside of the "spider belt" area) is really clueless on this subject.
  • By the way, I have been an urgent care nurse for 22 years, and have never seen a bite of this type before it happened to me.
  • I like to think my profession has helped "open doors" for me regarding excellent medical care, but still there seems to be no proven treatment for these bites.
  • Wear gloves while doing yard work!
  • Good luck!
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