Omigoodness. Sometimes, when you ask for help, you get more support than you’d ever dream possible. Lila Monroe, my good friend, volunteered her amazing writing abilities here at Pure Health Finds, and her first post discusses an extremely practical method for approaching an emergency situation (in her case, it was a brown recluse bite). I proudly bring you her first post and ask for your support for this incredible writer and business woman. She has placed her information at the bottom of the post, so please check out her incredible page at Sahana Wellness. I’m very grateful to have such professional help to get this blog going again. Blessings to all of you this holiday season, and stay safe!
Crime Scene by Lila Monroe
Time – 3 a.m., in the wee hours a cool, December morning
Setting – Sleepy little subdivision in Ouachita Parish, Louisiana
Victim – Middle-aged male – Sharp laceration to the nape of the neck while sleeping
Perpetrator – Arachnid, the BROWN RECLUSE aka the FIDDLEBACK Spider
It was already a fitful sleep, then…whoosh, and an “Aagh!!!”
“What, baby?” I mumble trying to comprehend why my husband sat straight up like a B-movie zombie then proceeded to let out a bellowing wail while thrashing his pillow around.
‘I just got bit!” he stammered, then ripped the sheets off in a flurry. Sure enough, I shined the bright light from my cell phone on the back of his neck which revealed the tell-tale mark of a spider bite. After searching for several minutes we could not find the culprit, or the Calamine lotion.
Despite my plea to get it checked out, he decides it just itches and therefore isn’t serious, so he went back to bed.
Sound funny, even a bit familiar?
This could actually have been a disaster, a potentially lethal disaster. But before I share what happens next, let me tell you about the brown recluse.
This critter is 15 times more poisonous than the black widow and is recognized for its marking just below his head, which resembles a violin.
It is nocturnal, seeks out warmer abodes in winter, and while generally not aggressive unless provoked, this predator is nevertheless responsible for several attacks on humans while they are sleeping. More than likely, he does not like to share pillow space!
The brown recluse is found all over the Southeast and in some areas along the Southwest U.S. If you live in or visit this part of the country, it is very important to learn how to treat a brown recluse bite, and even more important on preventing one in the first place. Here are steps to protect yourself and your family:
Protect Your Home
- Inspect your property for holes or cracks along your foundation, walls, windows and floorboards. Repair brick, cement or caulk where needed.
- Do not spray insecticides. The brown recluse is resistant to insecticides and exposure to those toxins may cause aggressive behavior. Simple spider traps are inexpensive and effective.
- Clean out under cabinets and along corners of window sills frequently. Spiders love to hang out along the inside overhang of kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Wear protective gloves and run along the underside of the cabinet to collect webbing, live spiders, and eggs. Squish them and flush them down the drain immediately.
Protect Your Family
- Spiders love to hide—do not leave clothing on floor. Shake out all garments and shoes before dressing, especially in the cooler months.
- Never reach into a dark, seldom used space without gloves, and ensure bed-sheets do not touch the floor.
- Keep an insect bite first aid kit on hand (see below for recommended contents).
- Try to locate and trap the spider.
- Take one Benadryl according to directions on container/box.
- Help strengthen the immune system with 1000 mg Vitamin C, along with a generous portion of aloe vera filet from the leaf or in drinkable form from the pharmacy. Consuming aloe vera orally provides a number of health benefits and is also helpful in fighting the bacteria, as it is a natural bactericide.
- Clean the bite area with soap and water. I use Dawn dish soap or a non-toxic deep-cleaning insecticide spray like Mitactin.
- Generously apply powdered, activated carbon (pure charcoal with no additives) to the entire site. Place in ziplock bag and roll with rolling pin to achieve consistency of powder. We used a magic bullet which is fast, but a bit messier.
- Cover with wet paper towel and dress with terry towel or torn t-shirt.
- Keep this dressing on for one hour, then refresh, being careful not to be too abrasive in removing the old charcoal.
- When finished with charcoal treatment, wash the area gently again, then pat dry and apply an antibiotic topical pain reliever like Benadryl anti-itch gel for kids. DO NOT APPLY HYDROCORTISONE. You may also prefer to put fresh aloe vera gel from the plant on the wound and take an oral pain reliever such as Aleve gel caps.
Finally, as soon as possible, go to your nearest 24 hour medical clinic for a tetanus shot and doctor review. The tetanus shot is important because the brown recluse carries the tetanus bacteria making its victims susceptible to tetanus disease which includes painful lockjaw and other calamities. You may be given an antibiotic shot to fight infection, or steroid shot if swelling does not subside. However, there is no anti-venom for the brown recluse in the US or Canada.
Therefore, drawing out the venom naturally with the charcoal, helping strengthen the immune system naturally to fight off the venom and bacteria carried by the spider, and treating the skin to mitigate as much damage to the tissue as possible, are the best practices in treating this type of wound.
Spider Bite First Aid Kit
I have seen kits sold complete for $29.99 and up, however, all the materials needed to treat a brown recluse bite are readily available at Walmart or can be purchased individually online. You may find other uses for these supplies, or that you have some of these materials at home already. A little research can save a chunk of change!
- Gentle Skin Cleanser
- Activated Carbon
- Topical Pain Reliever
- Oral Pain Reliever
- Aloe Vera Gel – Taken topically and orally
Remember, do NOT apply hydrocortisone or attempt to draw out venom in any other fashion; doing so may result in permanent damage to skin. Skin graft, hospitalization and even death may occur from advanced stage bites that were not treated immediately and properly.
So, how did our story end? Well, since we didn’t have anything on hand, the area did swell up something terrible. Later in the evening he felt a tingling sensation in his hand. That was it – I put my foot down and called the pharmacist! After a conversation with Walgreens, the tech referred us to the 24-hour clinic. With a still adamant husband, we did a late night Walmart run and performed the above treatment twice, leaving the last one on overnight. We applied the Benadryl gel after the morning shower and covered the area with a bandage. The venom is drawn out, swelling is reduced, there appears to be no infection, but we are keeping an eye on it!
Take a bite out of crime, naturally – follow me on Facebook at Sahana Wellness to learn how be prepared for spider bites and other timely health topics!
Guest Blogger Profile
Lila Monroe is an entrepreneur and runs a strategic investment and management consulting practice. She credits her vitality, strength and stamina to healthy living and excellent nutrition. An avid wellness advocate in her blog, Sahana Wellness, Lila reviews natural remedies, world class spa & wellness products, and provides tips & inspiration for healthy living.
Disclaimer: This article is not considered medical advice, is solely for entertainment and educational purposes only, and does not replace the advice of a qualified, licensed, medical practitioner. Nor is the author or blog owner responsible for any damages resulting from actions you may or may not take concerning your body or health before, during, or after reading this material. That being said, I hope the information you read here will be of help to you and you and your family will benefit from our kitchen counter wisdom.