Spiders belong to the class of mainly terrestrial Arthropods known as Arachnida. Medically significant classes of arachnids include spiders, ticks/mites and scorpions. Unfortunately through myths, legends and nowadays media, spiders have gained a reputation of being dangerous and harmful, and in some people instil a psychological fear known as arachnophobia. In reality, very few are dangerous to man and media reports exaggerating the dangers of spider bites are far out of proportion to the actual threat they pose.
The signs and symptoms of a spider bite depend on many factors, these include:
* Neurotoxic or cytotoxic venom
* Amount of venom injected
* Health of the patient (e.g. any allergies)
* Age of the patient (small children and elderly are more adversely affected)
* Site of the bite
The signs and symptoms from a bite from a spider with neurotoxic venom differ to those produced by a spider with cytotoxic venom. The severity of the symptoms depends on the species of spider as the symptoms of bites from different species of Loxosceles can range from unremarkable (requiring no care), localised (usually self-healing), dermonecrotic (slow-healing ulcerated lesion requiring treatment), to systemic (vascular, renal damage and sometimes life-threatening).
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