Some people are more affected by the venom than others. Most healthy adults experience a lot of pain and recover on their own. But others become incapacitated, and some die. Which group would I fall into? Or had I been bitten by something else entirely? Why make a big deal out of nothing?
I decided to wait and find out before getting behind the wheel. I dipped my foot into the cool water and decided I might as well pass the time by fishing.
Three catfish later, the symptoms were progressing. I felt a warmth in my abdomen. This turned into pressure, which became a painful cramping. There could be no more denial. I carried my fish up the hill to my car and headed for the University of Virginia hospital, in Charlottesville.
Brown recluse spiders possess a variety of adaptations, including the abilities to maintain homeostasis for several seasons with no food or water and to survive after losing limbs. Additionally, the spiders survive significantly longer in a relatively cool, thermally stable environment.
The increased abilities of the spiders to survive during times of starvation, thirst, and regulated room temperatures makes extermination of this species particularly challenging. Many chemicals which have proven effective have now been made illegal or restricted in the U.S., making the use of chemicals to eradicate the spiders impractical. Chemicals that do not kill the spider may cause disruption to its nervous system or other systems, inducing undesirable aggressive behavior.
Dr. Holstege finally explained what was on his mind. The hospital was one of several conducting a study to test a new form of antivenin, and wanted me to be a guinea pig. The drug, Analatro, was made in sheep rather than horses, and was processed differently, so it had fewer impurities to which the body could react.
It sounded promising, but there were risks. First, I could not take pain medications that would mask the drug’s effects: no muscle relaxers to fight the spasms that already gripped my rib cage like a vise. Second, the side effects were not well understood.
Finally, there was a 50 percent chance that I would not get the antivenin at all but a placebo. I would be only the fourth patient to participate. Two of my predecessors had received the placebo. It all sounded so interesting that I could not bear not to volunteer. (I was also promised a payment of $60.)
"His hand remained swollen “like a balloon” for five weeks until doctors gave him a course of antibiotics.
Dubbed the “British black widow”, the deadly spider, which is about the size of a 50 pence piece, unleashes venom and can kill those who are allergic to it.
"Nearly all spider bites come from attempting to catch the spider so it is highly recommended that this is not undertaken. However, If you must remove the spider from your home, please capture it using a jar and a stick or pencil and try not to touch the spider with your hands.""
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