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Go to a follow-on UPDATE – ONE YEAR LATER of this post.

Five days ago a rash on my right leg became interesting enough to take a photo of it. Too bad there wasn’t an earlier picture so there would be a better progression of this series. I called my dermatologist but that appointment isn’t for another six days so I went into the VA drop-in clinic yesterday and saw a GP. I should have spent some more time searching this on the web because it would have been helpful for for a non-specialist doctor to have some informed suggestions. Being a young doctor he may never have seen a spider bite before. I found this one after looking for quite a while.

Spider bite

This spider-bite looked a lot like mine.

He didn’t think I had an infection and since it didn’t itch there was little likelihood it was poison oak. It did look like poison oak at first because there had been a little blistering when I first noticed it but there was more of a mild burning sensation and only a little itching. So, I ignored it with the expectation that it would go away in a couple of days. No such luck, it just got worse and I was still in the stage of denial that anything was wrong. Finally I took this picture.

spider bite

Spider bite 8/20/2010 the first photo about 4 days after the bite.

When I first noticed this it looked very similar to poison oak so in an attempt to rinse away the poison I daubed my finger tip in some Tide detergent and gently rubbed on for about ten seconds and then thoroughly rinsed if off. I did that two times a day for two days but stopped when it didn’t appear to be helping. I suspect the detergent is what caused the skin to peel, although since it did peel around the red areas, it was having some specific effect.

spider bite plus six days

8/22 Spider bite about 2 days after the first photograph with Tide caused pealing of skin.

As ugly as this looks it didn’t itch, like Poison Oak and it didn’t hurt like an open wound and although it was red it didn’t feel warm to the touch like it was fevered with an infection. There was a mild burning sensation better described as warmth which was easily ignored.

Spider bite with long tendrils

8/24 Spider bite two days later has developed long tendrils and isolated patches.

Spider bite

8/25 Spider bite the next day has developed a tiny dark grey spot at the center.

After searching the web for skin rashes and finding the photo at the top it became apparent that this was a spider bite. After a google search of spider bite treatment I found Spider & Bug Bites Treatment Self Help Guide. This site and others like are what make the web wonderful. It gives visual images of various insect bites followed by the typical symptoms with a seven question diagnosis chart followed with short descriptions which help to determine the source of the bite and then a clear and simple procedure for coping with the problem. Now with a clear diagnosis of the problem it becomes easier to find real experience on the web and develop a reasonable coping strategy.

Wikipedia has a good article on Spider Bites.

Although this bite looks bad, it appears that the best treatment is to clean the wound as early as possible with soap and water, which I did and then an application of iodine or some similar disinfectant, which I didn’t and then as the ugliness develops just keep it as clean as possible which I have done and then to avoid spiders in the future which I will most certainly do.

It was while picking wild blackberries that I probably encountered my little friend and if I could avoid threatening him by squeezing him against my leg with my pants, where he was just visiting, he probably wouldn’t bother me either.

Saying nice things about Mother Nature isn’t as effective as playing by her rules.

Go to the follow-on UPDATE – ONE YEAR LATER of this post.