A few days after a man died from the bite of a poisonous viper snake, Tel Aviv
Sourasky Medical Center issued an alert about dangerous bugs to watch out for
Dr. Yael Faran, an expert on infectious diseases and head of
the hospital’s traveler’s clinic, said on Monday that bites from spiders, ants,
fleas, ticks, mosquitoes and other creepycrawlies can be harmful as
In general, only a minority of spider species are dangerous. In
some cases, the toxin enters a person’s body when the spider is caught between
the individual’s body and another object.
Most spider bites are not
harmful to man, said Faran. The black widow spider (Latrodectus) and the
Mediterranean recluse spider (Loxosceles rufescens) spider, however, do have a
The Mediterranean recluse spider has a white pattern
shaped like a violin on its back, lives mostly inside homes and is more common
than the black widow. Its bite can cause deep sores that can cause sepsis and
tissue damage. It is treated in hospitals either locally or systemically,
depending on how much the toxin has spread.
The black widow is small and
shiny black with red spots on its back. It is usually found outdoors, and its
bite can cause a serious reaction that may include muscle pains that can turn
into severe pain in the abdomen, back and chest. In such a case, it requires
systemic treatment. In severe cases, it can lead to a serious rise in blood
pressure and rapid pulse, sweating, nausea and vomiting.
In severe cases,
antitoxin is needed for treatment. Treatment includes anti-tetanus vaccine if
the victim has not been vaccinated in recent years.
Since the clinical
picture presented by a spider bite is akin to serious skin infections or bites
by other inspects, sometimes the attacker is actually not a spider at
Rinse the affected skin with water and soap, and cool the area with
ice. If there is significant swelling or pus, fever, vomiting, muscle or
abdominal pain, excessive sweating or black or blue areas around the bite – or
if the local reaction gets worse over 24 hours – go for medical help.
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