Spider and Other Dangerous Bites: A Public Health Discussion


Spider, Mite & Tick Bites Must be Understood and Defended Against in Canada

Spiders, mites & ticks are arthropods from the arachnid class, with over 100,000 species described worldwide and several hundred families of these creatures known to science. Arachnids play important roles in global ecosystems, but often come into serious conflicts with humans as a result of their venomous or parasitic behaviors. Spiders are found on every continent except Antarctica, with ranges that extend to every known habitat excluding the air and the sea. Spiders prey on small animals, but may bite humans when threatened, which is incredibly frequent due to accidental human contact. Yvonne Dollard Perc of Island Healthworks is especially interested in raising awareness of spider bites, particularly in Canada after the loss of a nephew to medical complications believed to be potentially related to the bite of an introduced Hobo Spider.

Medical professionals may not always be equipped to recognize the nature of an animal bite including spider bites, and misdiagnosis or inadequate treatment may prove fatal or harmful. Many spider species have longer term, necrotic toxic effects or allergic complications associated with their venom that compound damage from bites. Complications may develop right away after a bite or in the longer term. Proper diagnosis of the spider involved and treatment is essential. In the case of highly toxic species such as the Black Widow, effects are serious, almost immediate and may occur without proper hospital treatment.

Spiders & Other Arachnids May Deliver Serious Bites

Species such as the Hobo Spider, introduced to BC and often mistaken for a Brown Recluse may be more insidious. A bite from this brown creature may lead to localized irritation, serious necrotic effects and then generalized symptoms and malaise that may be mistaken for unrelated medical conditions. If you experience pain or a bite of any kind, try to capture the spider as a sample in a jar for identification. It is important to be assertive and perceptive when it comes to protecting your own health or the safety of others. Spider bites are often confused with infectious or autoimmune illnesses affecting the skin and vice versa and misdiagnosis is very easy! 

Hobo Spider bite may cause severe pain, burning and irritation, with herpes or strep like lesions appearing at the site of the bite due to tissue necrosis.

Hobo Spiders, and Black Widows are most frequently found in woodpiles, basements and other dry places in parts of BC, where accidental contact may lead to a bite. Black Widow bites are known to cause more focused pain and generalized illness, sometimes leading to death. Hobo Spider bites may cause severe pain, burning and irritation, with herpes or strep like lesions appearing at the site of the bite due to tissue necrosis. In the case of serious spider bites, a tight bandage should be placed above the bite location to reduce the spread of venom while quickly seeking qualified medical attention. Bites can mimic many conditions, so it is important to link the spider bite to the symptoms when possible to prevent misdiagnosis. Hobo Spider bites may lead to vision problems, dizziness and a wider range of physiological and neurological effects that could, in our personal opinion lead to fatal effects in compromised individuals or weakened persons even though proven anecdotes do not yet exist.

Many other spider species can inflict seriously painful bites, such as the Red-backed Jumping Spider, which is not fatal but may inflict extreme swelling and burning pain similar to the result of a hornet encounter. Other arachnids such as mites may cause irritation, while ticks may carry Lyme Disease, an increasing threat to public health.

Island Healthworks recommends caution in forested areas and the use of tucked in socks, long pants, long sleeves and hats when hiking off trails. Mites may be discouraged by Tea Tree Oil, which has additional properties that may benefit your health including potential mitigation of cold symptoms. Many spiders cause mild but nevertheless irritating and sometimes health compromising symptoms that may persist for a time. Aloe Vera Gel may be useful for reducing skin irritation. For serious symptoms of spider bites and more mild incidents, Island Healthworks recommends herbal products such as Black Cohosh, available from Island Healthworks. Histablock may mitigate allergic symptoms. It's always best to keep you immune system supported in order to stay resistant to spider bites. For necrotic complications, if approved by your doctor in addition to medical care, you can use Silver Shield to help in cases of lesions or where the bite is susceptible to secondary infection. 

To learn more, contact Yvonne Dollard Perc at Island Healthworks. Yvonne offers phone consultations where she will develop an individualized health care program and lifestyle plan tailored to your specific needs through a personal health and lifestyle analysis.

Call 250-468-7685 to speak with Yvonne and set up a phone consultation!

Yvonne offers in-person consultations with assessment of your specific needs, health and lifestyle coaching, and the best of integrative natural health care. To book your in person consultation, please call 250-468-7685!

This article is intended for educational purposes and the information contained within is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure any disease or health problem. Please seek appropriate medical attention for any health complaints. We cannot take responsibility for your health care decisions. Our intent is only to offer health information to help you with your search for better health. 

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Wednesday, 20 October 2021