CDC Foundation Activates Fund to Address Widespread Health Challenges Following Hurricane Harvey

ATLANTA, Sept. 7, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — In the wake of some of the worst flooding in U.S. history, the CDC Foundation today is activating its Emergency Response Fund to help the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tackle the health challenges that the citizens of Texas and Louisiana are facing following Hurricane Harvey. The fund will extend CDC’s response, providing essential supplies and vital assistance as frontline experts work with partners to address community health needs and public health infrastructure in the storm’s aftermath.

“The destruction and flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey is devastating, and we know some of these serious public health hazards will take months and possibly years to address,” said CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald, M.D. “CDC’s hurricane response experts predict significant public health needs around infectious disease threats, mosquito control, water safety, occupational health risks, as well as unanticipated needs. CDC Foundation’s funds provide real-time financial support and amplify CDC’s emergency response efforts to meet these immediate health issues.”
CDC staff are on the ground along the Gulf Coast and working with local, state and federal officials on a variety of health challenges, including:
General and medical shelter surveillance for infectious disease outbreaks
Public health messages and risk communication
Water, sanitation and safety evaluations for food/water
Mold abatement
Industrial contamination (HAZMAT) mitigation/abatement
Mosquito management from standing water
While there are many organizations that respond with aid during a disaster, the CDC Foundation’s fund is unique because it supports CDC experts as they address public health threats that arise in the days, weeks and months after an emergency situation. During emergency responses, the CDC Foundation plays a key role by facilitating partnerships that can be utilized before and after federal funds are made available. There are also situations where the use of federal funds will not be available during an emergency response and CDC needs the CDC Foundation to help deploy resources with speed, efficiency and flexibility.
“The impact of this storm will live on for years,” said Judith Monroe, MD, president and CEO of the CDC Foundation. “When a health threat strikes, speed saves lives. Right now, the people of the Gulf Coast need our help. We encourage everyone—individuals, corporations, philanthropies and others—to support CDC and its team of experts who will work collaboratively with other organizations to address the health threats that are starting to emerge as the waters recede.”
In the past, the CDC Foundation’s Emergency Response funds helped save and improve lives by supporting CDC’s efforts in response to Hurricane Katrina, the Ebola and Zika epidemics, the Haiti earthquake and the Southeast Asian tsunami. Following Hurricane Katrina, for instance, the CDC Foundation provided support for a range of activities, based on local resources and needs. These activities included funds used to replace two county health department facilities in Mississippi, medications for evacuees who left their homes and communities, funding and equipment for New Orleans health department staff relocated to Texas to provide for evacuees, and support for an information hotline in Georgia for evacuees.
Contributions to the CDC Foundation’s Emergency Response Fund are tax deductible and can be made on the CDC Foundation’s website (www.cdcfoundation.org/2017-hurricane-response), by phone or mail. Donations will first fund CDC’s Hurricane Harvey response. Any remaining funds will be applied to other CDC public health emergency responses as needed. To discuss giving opportunities or an in-kind donation, contact Advancement at the CDC Foundation, advancement@cdcfoundation.org, 404.653.0790, or toll-free at 888-886-4CDC.
About the CDC Foundation
The CDC Foundation helps the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) save and improve lives by unleashing the power of collaboration between CDC, philanthropies, corporations, organizations and individuals to protect the health, safety and security of America and the world. The CDC Foundation is the sole entity authorized by Congress to mobilize philanthropic partners and private-sector resources to support CDC’s critical health protection mission. Since 1995, the CDC Foundation has launched nearly 1,000 programs and raised over $700 million. The CDC Foundation manages over 250 CDC-led programs in the United States and in more than 100 countries. For more information, visit www.cdcfoundation.org. Follow the Foundation on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.
 
SOURCE CDC Foundation

Energy Drinks Send Thousands to the ER Each Year

Energy Drinks Send Thousands to the ER Each Year
ER Visits From Drinking Energy Drinks Jump Tenfold Since 2005, Report Says
By Brenda Goodman,
From the WebMD Archives

Nov. 22, 2011 — There’s been a big spike in the number of people who need emergency medical attention after they guzzle popular caffeinated energy drinks, according to a new government report.

The report shows a more than a tenfold increase in the number of emergency room visits tied to the use of these drinks between 2005 and 2009.
In 2005, 1,128 ER visits were associated with the use of energy drinks compared to 13,114 in 2009. That number peaked in 2008 with more than 16,000 ER visits linked to energy drinks.

Beverage manufacturers fired back at the statistics, charging that they are misleading since they are being taken out of context.
“Of the more than 123 million visits made to emergency room facilities each year, less than one one-hundredth of one percent involved people who consumed energy drinks according to this report,” says the American Beverage Association in a statement.”Even so, this report shares no information about the overall health of those who allegedly consumed energy drinks, or even what symptoms brought them to the ER in the first place,” the statement says.

Energy Drinks and the ER
While 44% of cases involved energy drinks in combination with alcohol or other drugs, the report shows most people who wound up in the ER told doctors they had downed only energy drinks. “There’s been quite a bit of attention paid to those energy drinks that have alcohol with them. What we found was that there are actually more visits for those energy drinks that don’t have alcohol,” says Albert Woodward, PhD, director of the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in Rockville, Md. DAWN reports, such as this one, are published periodically by the network. “People may think that the alcohol-caffeine drinks are dangerous, but they may not have any idea that the caffeine-only drinks are also potentially problematic,” Woodward says.

Experts who study the health effects of energy drinks called the finding surprising and worrisome.
“I do a lot of my research on combining alcohol and energy drinks and I know that’s really risky, but energy drinks by themselves, it’s been quite in debate whether they’re really all that dangerous,” since they’re supposed to contain about the same amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee, says Cecile Marczinski, PhD, an assistant professor of psychology at Northern Kentucky University, Highland Heights.

But Marczinski said she recently learned that manufacturers don’t have to report the total caffeine that’s in the drinks. They only have to list what they add. There may be much more caffeine that comes from stimulant herbs like guarana.
“The caffeine in these drinks could be vastly underestimated,” she tells WebMD.
Young adults, usually men, were most likely to get into trouble using energy drinks, the report shows.

Furthermore:
More than half of all ER visits linked to energy drinks were in college-age adults ages 18 to 25.
Adults ages 26 to 39 accounted for almost a third of the visits.
Teens 12 to 17 and adults over 40 each accounted for 11% of visits.
Men accounted for nearly two-thirds of all visits.
Marczinski says that’s not surprising since the drinks, which come in brightly colored cans and have macho, high-octane names, are made to catch the eye of teens and young adults, who may not yet be coffee drinkers.

But she thinks the drinks are more dangerous than coffee, for several reasons. They come in large containers, making it easy to slug several servings in a single sitting. And because they’re usually sweet and served cold, they are tempting stand-ins for thirst quenchers like water or sports drinks.
“So it is easier, I think, to consume more of an energy drink than any other caffeinated food or product,” Marczinski says.
Caffeine Overdose Symptoms. The report didn’t gather data on the specific symptoms that sent people to the hospital. Most were simply classified as adverse reactions.  But ER doctors say they’re probably similar to a typical caffeine overdose.
“Those symptoms include a fast heart rate, elevated blood pressure, maybe a fever, agitation, moodiness, confusion, and perhaps difficulty with fine motor control,” says Tamara R. Kuittinen, MD, director of medical education in the department of emergency medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. Those effects may be amplified if a person has already taken another medication or drug.
The report showed that 27% of people who landed in the ER after using energy drinks were also taking another pharmaceutical, often a stimulant medication like Ritalin.

For more information:  http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/news/20111121/energy-drinks-send-thousands-to-the-er-each-year#1

Solar Eclipse – Be Aware of Why You Need to be Careful

The worst things that could go wrong during the total solar eclipse — and how to be prepared

By Kayla Epstein August 15

The Great American Eclipse is nigh!
Millions are expected to pack the so-called path of totality, or the swath of the United States that will be able to experience the complete solar eclipse.
But, as with any major event, some things might not go according to plan. We’ve compiled a list of what could go wrong, from safety hazards to acts of nature. Plan accordingly.

You could seriously damage your eyes
Looking directly at the sun during the eclipse without proper eyewear would harm your eyes “like a magnifying glass on a leaf,” as one optometrist put it to The Washington Post’s Angela Fritz.Fritz reports: “Depending on the sky conditions, it only takes about a minute and a half for your eyes to be permanently damaged, and the damage is cumulative, meaning you don’t have to stare at the sun without looking away for it to be harmful — you may just be taking quick glances, but it’s still damaging your eye.” We are going to keep saying this, and saying this, and saying this: If you plan on viewing the eclipse, you will need to wear protective glasses. Regular sunglasses won’t do.

Looking at the eclipse through your camera won’t necessarily protect your eyes, either. You will need a solar filter if you plan on photographing the eclipse to protect yourself — and the camera. You can learn more about them here.

Speaking of which . . .
You could damage your camera
Just like our eyes, cameras are sensitive to the sun’s powerful rays and could be damaged if you don’t use the proper filters and equipment. The types of gear you’ll need to use varies depending on the type of camera you’ll use to shoot the main event. Nikon has a good guide to photographing eclipses, and YouTube has numerous tutorials to offer.

It might be cloudy
Clear skies are required to view this celestial event, the first total eclipse to pass solely across the United States in the history of the United States. But, of course, it could all be ruined if Mother Nature declines to play along.
With the path of totality spanning from sea to shining sea, there is a chance that some locations will experience adverse weather conditions.
The Washington Post has calculated which locations are likely to have the best weather for viewing. If you still haven’t made travel plans for the eclipse, we recommend you give it a read before you choose your destination.

There might be fires
The eclipse will first make landfall in Oregon, making the state a prime location for avid spectators. However, Oregon has a bit of a problem: It’s in the midst of wildfire season. There are several burning right now, though it’s unclear whether the smoke will impair views of the eclipse.
In addition to natural variables like dry conditions and lightning causing fires, there’s a worry that careless visitors could spark a blaze. “With human-caused fires up 10 percent this year, we are hoping to educate and engage with folks to prevent the fires we can,” said Ron Graham of the Oregon Department of Forestry. “Common causes are campfires, tossing a cigarette out a window or even idling a hot vehicle over dry grass. One thing these all have in common is, they are all preventable.”The department is working to educate eclipse visitors on ways to prevent fires and be prepared for any emergencies.

They’ve created a guide to not starting fires and a tool called Know Before You Go, which allows people to find out about the latest restrictions caused by fires. Graham said the department was also placing firefighting resources such as trucks, aviation and staff around the Path of Totality to address any issues that might come up.“We really just want to partner with Oregonians and visitors alike to help make the Solar Eclipse memorable for all the right reasons!” Graham said.

There’s going to be a lot of traffic
This being America, many people are expected to hit the road to reach the path of totality. According to calculations made by GreatAmericanEclipse.com, 12.25 million people live inside this ribbon of land. They estimate an additional 1.85 million to 7.4 million people will travel to the path of totality to see the event.

“These millions of Americans will produce predictable traffic congestion,” Michael Zieler wrote at GreatAmericanEclipse.com. Areas that aren’t used to floods of humans are expecting numerous visitors — and the congestion that will come with them.

 

 

Ready, Set, Go to School–But be Careful…

It’s finally back-to-school season – an exciting time for parents as well as their kids! With classes and after-school activities ramping up again, parents should also begin to think about how to keep their children and teens safe and injury-free. Read on for more tips to kick the school year off safely, because one accident can mean lifelong injury.

Mobile devices and distracted walking
Whether it’s a smart phone or handheld game console, a distraction that takes a kid’s eyes off of any dangers around them can be deadly. Every day, 61 children are hit by cars, according to a SafeKids.org study. Adults can make deadly mistakes because of smart phones, too – make sure your child is prepared and aware of risks in their surroundings, like distracted drivers.
Don’t walk while texting or talking and pay attention to surroundings, especially traffic. Only cross the street in designated crossing areas – always looking left, right, and then left again before crossing – and leave the headphones off until they’re safely out of the road.

Getting to and from school
The most common way to get to school is with a parent or carpool. Always be sure your child wears their seatbelt while riding with you, and if they’re catching a ride to school with a friend, instill the importance of wearing it no matter what.
If you have a teen that is just beginning to drive themselves to school, be sure that they have had plenty of supervised practice with you or another adult driver. A teenager’s first year of driving runs the highest risk of accidents, so along with plenty of practice, be sure your child understands to avoid distractions while driving and always keep their eyes on the road – never on a text.
Many children also take the bus, but an accident can happen to and from the bus. Ensure your child arrives at their stop to catch the bus early so that they aren’t in a rush – they can avoid darting into the street in front of a car to catch their ride. It is also much safer to stay on the sidewalk and avoid stepping over the curb into the street.

If your child rides their bike to school, teach them the importance of always wearing a helmet – just like any other sports activity, it requires safety equipment! Ensure they are always riding with and not against traffic, and are always aware of cars and other pedestrians around them.

Playground, gym, and sports safety
Make sure your child who participates in sports has a full physical to ensure there are no underlying issues. Be sure they wear protective gear faithfully, and check for fit as they grow.
Over 200,000 kids 14 years old and younger are injured on the playground yearly, so be aware of the playground equipment and voice any concerns to the child’s teacher or the administration. Concussions are always a risk on the field or during recess – a fall during even safe play can happen. Let your child know that if he or she falls or bumps their head, they should definitely see the school nurse and notify you. They should also sit out the rest of practice or gym class until a health professional has examined them for symptoms of concussion.

Don’t take Common Back to School Illnesses Lightly…

SPHIER ER - The Common Cold

Getting the sneezing, body aches, and fever are a few symptoms of the Common Cold

SPHIER ER - Head LIce

When your child come home with head lice…

SPHIER ER - the Stomach bug

The Stomach Flu or the Stomach Bug – either way you put it- it is a nuisance

Many of the illnesses related to back to school are usually able to be cared for by a pediatrician.  However, do not take any of the common back-to-school illnesses lightly and remember that 24-hour  emergency rooms like SPHIER ER are there to provide immediate treatment for acute illnesses and trauma…

Common Back to School Illnesses
With schools re-opening, everyone is more concerned with their morning routines, preparation for school lunch, and other health concerns. No matter how hygienic your house, lunchbox, or you personally may be, microscopic germs can most definitely get your child sick. Inevitably, back-to-school illnesses manifest themselves in various forms. Having prior knowledge and taking precautionary measures can help avoid some of the most common back-to-school germs.

Common Cold
The most contagious of all back-to-school illnesses is the common cold with the characteristic stuffy and runny nose, congestion, cough, low-grade fever and the usual body aches and general weakness. This usually stays around for a few days, and cannot be cured by doctors. It is often recommended to increase the level of Vitamin C in your diet. However, if the symptoms deteriorate your child’s health, or linger on for longer than usual periods of time, seek medical advice.

Stomach Flu
Biologically known as gastroenteritis, this virus targets the lining of the GI tract resulting in pain, vomiting, and likely diarrhea as well. It’s a common illness in school-going kids, and is often due to dehydration that your little ones may feel ill. Making a regular habit to wash your hands and your children’s hands may help keep you free of this horrible virus.

Strep Throat
Strep throat is a bacterial infection that comes with high-grade fever, an itching sore throat, swollen lymph nodes, headache, nausea, and loss of appetite. Treatment with the proper antibiotics can prevent rheumatic heart disease later in life. If left untreated, certain strains of strep throat bacteria can develop into a scarlet fever that spreads all across the body, giving the feeling of sandpaper.

Pink Eye
Bacterial Conjunctivitis, more commonly known as pink eye, is a condition which makes anyone cringe at the sight. The yellowish, green eye discharge often causes the eyes to stick together overnight and is a very contagious illness, making it a problem for all of the kids at school. The redness, discomfort, and itchiness make the child extremely uncomfortable, and should be treated with anti-bacterial eye-drops at the earliest stage possible.

Head Lice
Have you noticed your kid scratching their head way too much? Do you feel your child is restless because of this constant itching? It may not be only due to poor hygiene that your child is getting infested with these little monsters. Lice lay eggs called nits within your child’s hair and multiply their population. Little children aren’t very conscious of not sharing personal items like hairbrushes, hats, or scarves. This is most common and easiest way of spreading these lice. Tell your child to avoid friends who are seen scratching their head and to avoid sharing their personal items.

Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
The reason for contracting this infection is the use of common bathrooms. The restroom is a breeding place for germs and needs to be taken care of by keeping hygiene concerns in mind, and teaching your child to be mindful when using the school restroom. Teach them the habit of washing their hands multiple times, keeping a hand sanitizer with them, and other general hygienic habits.

If your child happens to contract any of them, follow the appropriate treatment options to get your child back on track and fit to attend school after the sick break.

 

Healthy Food Remedies for Colds (Especially as We Go Back to School)

Home food remedies for colds now that School is starting

As we send our children back to school, and the routine of work and school begin again, colds begin to show up.  This article helps show that chicken soup and other foods really are good for you…

A team of doctors found that in a test tube chicken soup suppressed inflammation, which causes many cold symptoms. But chicken soup isn’t the only food that might help heal you from the inside out.Orange juice or half a grapefruit. Both are great sources of vitamin C, which could shorten the duration of colds.
Whole-grain cereal or bread. Whole grains are rich in vitamins and minerals, including zinc and vitamin E, which can help keep your immune system healthy. Black tea. Real tea leaves (not herbal) have substances that speed the action of cilia, the tiny hairlike cells lining your nasal passages, helping them expel germs. Anise-seed cookie. Anise seeds, with their licorice-like flavor, have been found to help break up congestion.
Salad of bitter greens. Watercress and arugula can make a salad special—and research shows they may also have antiviral effects. Bitter greens are especially helpful in relieving chest congestion, sniffles, and coughs.
Pasta with tomato sauce and plenty of garlic. Because the pungent bulb is one of the most potent disease-fighting foods around, it’s worth having at least two servings a day. Raw garlic has the most benefits, but cooked garlic also packs a punch.
Ginger tea. It’s different and refreshing—and, Duke says, “ginger is loaded with virus-fighting substances, including several that act directly against cold viruses.” (One substance, gingerol, can suppress coughing.) Boil water; then steep a tablespoon of fresh shredded ginger for 2 or 3 minutes.

Tips for Healthy Ways to Prepare to Go Back to School

Back to school is always a time of preparation- both mentally and physically.  It is important to remember to prepare so that things can get started smoothly.

After summer months of staying up late, zoning out in front of the TV or video screen, running wild outside, and eating snacks throughout the day, kids are in for a big adjustment as they head back to school. Most children need help transitioning back into a routine with deadlines for a successful start to the school year. It’s also a good time for kids to visit the pediatrician, dentist and eye doctor to make sure their health makes the grade.

Going back to school means an end to staying up late. To help your child transition back to waking up early, Dr. Warren Seigel, Chairman of Pediatrics at Coney Island Hospital in New York, says it’s important to establish a new sleep routine. “Start with going to bed one hour earlier every night and waking up early until the new routine is established,” he told CBS News. “It needs to be done a week or two before going back to school, not the night before school starts.”

The National Sleep Foundation provides guidelines for the amount of sleep children should get at different ages. They suggest kids between the ages of 3 and 5 get 10 to 13 hours of sleep a night; ages 6 to 13 need 9 to 11 hours of sleep; and teens 14 and older should get 8 to 10 hours of sleep a night.

Dr. Sarah Armstrong, director of Duke’s Healthy Lifestyles Clinic and an associate professor of Pediatrics and Community and Family Medicine, also offered some advice to help kids fall asleep easier. “Taking a hot bath cools the body down and triggers the central nervous system to induce sleep,” she said. “Also turning the lights down an hour or two before bedtime.”Studies have shown that the glowing light from cellphone and tablet screens can disrupt sleep cycles, so make sure kids put electronic devices away well before bedtime.

Back to school tips for staying healthy

The ABC’s of Back to School Health

Know When You Need a Doctor after a Spider Bite

How to Identify and Treat Symptoms of Spider Bites

Insects including spiders are always out and about especially in the summer.  Be aware of what to look for and when you need to seek medical care.

Are they really spider bites and what should you do for them?
By Rod Brouhard, EMT-P | Reviewed by a board-certified physician
Updated April 27, 2017

 

David O’Connor

 

Basics Symptoms
Orthopedic Emergencies
Soft Tissue Injuries
Breathing Emergencies
Emergency Preparedness
First Aid at Home

Despite a litany of infamous spider types, there are only two medically significant spider species in all of North America: the black widow and the brown recluse. Plenty of skin rashes and sores get diagnosed in the emergency department as spider bites, but the reality is that most are not. If you didn’t see the spider, then the chance that it’s an actual spider bite is pretty slim.

How to Treat a Spider Bite
You can treat all bug bites the same unless it’s a brown recluse or a black widow bite (see below on how to identify those).

Call a doctor or go to the emergency department if symptoms persist more than 24 hours or get worse, or if you think it’s a brown recluse or black widow. Some articles on the internet tell you to treat venomous spider bites differently than non-venomous bites, but as you’ll see, there’s no such thing as a non-venomous spider bite.
If you go to the doctor for a reaction, don’t start out by telling him or her it’s a spider bite—even if you think that’s what it is. Doctors are people, too, and they are susceptible to the power of suggestion just like the rest of us. Instead, tell the doctor, “I have this rash (bump, boil, red spot, black spot, etc.) and I was wondering if you could tell me what it is and what I can do for it.”
There are many home remedies for treating insect and spider bites, but do they help? Most of these have not been shown to provide any real benefit. Meat tenderizer (papain) has even been implicated in allergies and asthma reactions to its protein.

Suction syringes that are sold to extract toxins do not work and are a complete waste of money.

Symptoms of Black Widow Spider Bites
In the United States, black widow spiders are considered the most venomous. They have a toxin capable of a systemic reaction that affects muscle and nerve function. Black widow spider bite symptoms and be used to diagnose these bites and include:”fang” marks (tiny twin holes) are teltale signs that are only visible right after the bite happens, before any swelling or redness occurs
sweating
chills
headache
body aches
stomach cramps
leg cramps
rapid pulse
exhaustion

Other countries have a widow spider called the redback spider. It’s a good idea to consider any shiny black spider with a red mark to be in the widow family. Another type of widow spider, the brown widow, generally has a weaker toxin and can be found worldwide.
Symptoms of Brown Recluse Spider Bites
Despite the terrible wounds often associated with brown recluse, they are much less likely to cause significant injury than black widows. Skin infections may cause boils, which are often misdiagnosed as brown recluse spider bites (take a look at spider bite pictures to help you tell the difference).
It’s easier to figure out when a bite is not from a recluse than when it is. One tool to rule out brown recluse bites is to use the mnemonic NOT RECLUSE. This mnemonic helps point out things that are not present in brown recluse bites.
Numerous: if there are more lesions than just one or two, they’re not from a brown recluse. Brown recluse bites come in ones and sometimes two.
Occurrence: the way that a brown recluse bite usually occurs is through disturbing the spider. Most of the time it’s hidden away in a closet or an attic, possibly in boxes. Occasionally, the spider can find its way into the bed and bite the patient in his or her sleep. If the occurrence was during gardening, it’s probably not a brown recluse bite.

Timing: If the bite didn’t show up from April to October, it’s very unlikely that it’s a brown recluse bite.
Red center: Brown recluse bites are almost never red and inflamed in the center of the lesion. Usually, they’re pale, blue, or purple. They can be red around the periphery, but if it’s red in the center, it’s probably not a brown recluse.
Chronic: If it takes longer than 3 weeks for a small bite or 3 months for a bigger bite, it’s a 95 percent chance that it’s not a brown recluse bite. If your doc is still telling you that’s the problem, it’s time for another opinion.
Large: The biggest recluse lesions (the tissue that’s dying) have been documented to be smaller than 10 centimeters across (four inches). It can be red and swollen well past that area, but the necrosis won’t be any bigger.
Ulcerates too early: For non-medical folks, this one might be hard to remember. Brown recluse bites take at least a week to ulcerate (break the skin and crust over). If it’s crusty before 7 days, it’s probably not a brown recluse bite.
Swollen: Brown recluse bites are flat or sunken in the middle, not swollen. If it’s swollen (especially if it’s red), it’s not a brown recluse. The exceptions to this rule are bites on the face, especially the eyelids. Those swell pretty bad.
Exudes moisture: Brown recluse bites are dry, not moist. If it has pus oozing out of it, it’s an infection rather than a spider bite.
Brown Recluse spiders are only found in the Southeast United States and are very difficult to identify, even by trained arachnologists. There are several other species of recluse spider that are similar but less studied than the brown recluse. Brown recluse spiders are often described as having a violin-shaped mark on the back of their midsections, but that mark can be inconsistent and very faint.
The Other Spiders
There are more than 37,500 species of spider in the world. Almost all spiders are venomous. That’s how they hunt. Most spiders are too small, or their venom too weak, to be dangerous to humans. Some spiders are pretty well-known and seem to get blamed for most of the spider bites out there, even though there’s no evidence to support that those lesions are even from spiders.
Other parts of the world have much more dangerous species than the United States. Australia has the red back spider (similar to a black widow), white tail spiders, and deadly funnel-web spiders.
Determining whether a bite is from a spider may be impossible. Studies of brown recluse bites suggest that patients seek treatment more than three days after their bites, making it nearly impossible to identify the culprit. Black widow bites are often identified only by symptoms of its venom, without any visible local bite.
Local reactions to bites from all kinds of toxic bugs look the same: redness, swelling, itching, and pain. Be concerned if a local reaction continues to get worse for more than 24 hours. Look for redness spreading away from the bite, drainage from the bite, increase in pain, numbness/tingling, or a discoloration around the bite that looks like a halo or a bullseye.
You should also call a doctor if you are not up to date on your tetanus vaccination.
Allergic Reactions to Spider Bites
Anaphylaxis is always the biggest concern with any type of bug bite. If the victim exhibits any signs of allergic reaction or anaphylaxis shortly after a bug bite, call 911. Other symptoms can include:
hives
shortness of breath
wheezing
weakness
Seek medical treatment if symptoms appear in parts of the body away from the bite.
If It’s Not a Spider Bite, Then What Is It?
Besides being thousands of other types of bug bites besides a spider, local reactions that might make you think “spider bite” can be from skin infections, chemicals, poisons, allergies or even medications.
Skin boils from infections are often mistaken for spider bites in the U.S., even by doctors. One case study of an outbreak of bites in military barracks—at least what authorities thought were bites—turned out to be MRSA. All the more reason to be skeptical of a diagnosis of spider bite in the emergency department.

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