Are you afraid of spiders? You are not alone, up to 15% of the population has arachnophobia and suspect the rest are not being completely honest.
To avoid being bitten clean up outdoor clutter. If a spider cannot find a cozy home around your house, they will find another spot. You should also wear gloves when gardening, this will not only prevent bites, but other injuries. It is a good idea to shake out any shoes or clothes that have been sitting for a prolonged period or stored outdoors. When camping, you can loop socks over the top boots or seal them in a bag to keep out spiders. Finally, do not reach into dark spaces. Make sure to check where you are putting your hand, you maybe reaching into someone’s web.
The two venomous spiders in Texas are the brown recluse and the black widow. It will be helpful to medical personnel if you can identify the spider. The brown recluse has a violin shaped dark brown shape on the head. The black will have a distinctive shiny black with a distinctive red hourglass shape on their abdomen.
To spare the 15% of the population (possibly more) with arachnophobia, click below for pictures of the spiders.
Spider bites should be washed with soap, water, and antiseptic. Try, if you can, to capture the spider for positive identification. Ice packs can be used to reduce inflammation and pain. First aid is limited with spider bites, and call 9-1-1 for black widow bites. For brown recluse you may go to urgent care, or your doctor the same day. Do not be surprised if there is no antivenom administered. Antivenom for black widow bites can cause anaphylactic reactions and is only administered in severe cases. There is no antivenom for the brown recluse bite. However, bites from a brown recluse are rare. When someone is bitten 90% have mild to no reaction. For more first aid tips visit the Texas Department of Health Services.
If you have been bitten, for expert advice call the Texas Poison Control center at 1-800-222-1222.