Doctors report increase of brown recluse spider bites - FOX Carolina 21

Doctors report increase of brown recluse spider bites

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A large brown recluse compared to a US penny. (Source: Wikimedia Commons) A large brown recluse compared to a US penny. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

According to reports, toxicologists at Vanderbilt University Medical Center are seeing an increased number of patients with brown recluse spider bites this summer.

Exterminator and owner of Hired Killers Pest Control, Ross Woodall, said he's seen his fair share of the pests around homes in the Upstate as well.

He described one instance in which one of his clients actually had several bites on her arms that started to turn black and eventually made her sick.

Woodall says he found the brown recluse spiders under her mattress.

"It was quite nasty… she had some skin issues and what not because it progressed for about two weeks before she got any treatment," said Woodall.

Woodall said the spiders are often found in bedrooms behind furniture, in clothes that are packed away, and even in shoes when they're left in garages and outside.

He also added one spider can turn into many, fast.

"One female can lay about three cycles per season, and she'll lay about 150 per cycle… it can get out of hand," said Woodall.

Unlike Woodall, Dr. Frank Beachum a family doctor with Greenville Health System, has never seen a brown recluse spider bite on one of his patients.

However, Beachum says a bite can be potentially fatal if a child under 12 is infected.

"A child is a little more fragile to infection, so that's something that we do take serious… brown recluse bites can cause hemolysis which is a breakdown of the red blood cells inside the body," said Beachum.

Bites usually start as red and then turn black or brown in the center. Beachum said they can stay contained, or as he mentioned, can spread to the rest of the body.

If left untreated, Beachum mentioned they can cause flu-like symptoms such as chills, fever, nausea and vomiting.

He encourages anyone who thinks they were bitten by one, if it's possible, to bring the spider to a health care professional so they can identify it.

To get rid of one or more in your home, Woodall suggests cleaning up your house and then calling in an exterminator to help spray.

To learn more about pest control through Hired Killers Pest Control, click here.

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