Bleeding to Death: What Does It Feel Like, How Long Does It Take, and Am I at Risk?
What do you feel when you have a minor cut or scrape on your skin?
You don’t get any pain.
When you are bitten by a mosquito, does it hurt?
But what happens if you get bit by a spider?
Your body will react immediately with pain receptors to protect its vital organs. That’s why spiders bite so hard!
When you get bitten by a spider, you might experience some pain. However, most likely your body won’t be able to handle the amount of venom injected into your body. And that’s exactly what happens when you get bitten by a spider.
If the venom gets too much into your system, then it causes severe problems like convulsions and even death.
The same thing happens with spiders when they bite humans. The venom gets into our bloodstream and damages the heart, lungs, liver, kidneys and other vital organs. These damage may cause severe health issues such as high blood pressure or organ failure.
But what happens if you get bitten by a spider?
There are two possible outcomes:
You survive the attack but suffer from a few bites later. Or You die due to massive blood loss (bleeding) caused by the venom getting into your body.
How Long Does It Take To Die from a Spider Bite?
Anywhere between 5 minutes to 2 hours depending on the type of spider.
5 Minutes: Brown Recluse (Loxosceles reclusa)
Also known as the fiddle-back or violin spider, the Brown Recluse is a small spider with a dark brown skin and a distinctive dark brown violin marking on its back (abdomen). It is considered to be one of the most venomous spiders in North America.
The bite of a Brown Recluse can potentially result in an unwary victim developing a sometimes lethal systemic allergic reaction called Loxoscelism (Loxosceles toxicosis) or, more commonly, “recluse disease” which can cause the destruction of skin and soft tissue. A small white blister forms at the bite site within hours and the affected area soon begins to itch. This is followed by the appearance of a purple discoloration at the bite site and the skin eventually dies and turns black as the poison spreads through the body.
4 Hours: Black Widow (Latrodectus mactans)
The female black widow spider is easily recognized by the unmistakable bright red marking on the underside of her abdomen. She has a black shiny body, which is round in shape and typically has a “frumpy” appearance.
The female black widow’s venom is 15 times more powerful than that of a rattlesnake, however, this is not always a given as male widows have much weaker venom. Only female bites, however, are dangerous. The victim may experience muscle aches, sweating and vomiting within 30 minutes of being bitten.
These symptoms are then followed by severe back and abdominal pain, tremor, diarrhea, and nervousness.
3 Hours: Brown Widow (Latrodectus geometricus)
The brown widow is similar in size and appearance to the black widow. It can easily be distinguished from the black widow because its hourglass marking is orange or yellow rather than red. Also, the web of the brown widow is more “messy” than that of the black widow.
Its venom is about half as potent as that of the black widow, but can still be fatal to an adult. The bite may cause excessive sweating, abdominal pain, and vomiting within 30 minutes. These symptoms are then followed by muscle spasms and paralysis.
Death is rare, but possible, if the victim is not given enough anti-venom.
1 Hour: Yellow Sac (Cheiracanthium inclusum)
The yellow sac is a common house spider and is found throughout North America. It gets its name from the distinctive yellow coloring on the middle part of its body. It is a web builder and is usually found in dark corners of porches and garages as well as around windows and doors.
The venom of this spider is usually not life-threatening to an adult although it may cause a general illness with symptoms of mild fever, tiredness, muscle aches and vomiting. In children however, the victim may experience difficulties in breathing and a drop in blood pressure followed by heartbeat irregularities.
30 Minutes: Hobo (Eratigena agrestis)
These spiders are also known as “fog spiders” or “garden spiders”. They produce a hand-sized web which is often found in corners of windows or under the eaves of houses. They have a dark brown to black body with prominent red, white or yellow markings underneath its abdomen, hence its name (“hobo” or “tramp” spider).
The hobo spider’s venom is an acute neurotoxin and may result in severe symptoms such as cramps, tremors and nausea. It can also cause abnormal heartbeat and excessive sweating.
15 Minutes: Brown Recluse (Loxosceles reclusa)
The brown recluse is a small spider with a dark brown body and a faint dark stripe on the head and neck region connecting to the torso. It is commonly found in Midwestern states of the USA.
The bite may not be felt when it happens as the venom contains enzymes that prevent the central nervous system from recognizing pain at the bite site. However, symptoms appear 8-12 hours after the bite and may include tissue death, skin necrosis and systemic issues.
6 Minutes: Hobo Spider (Eratigena agrestis)
The hobo spider is similar to the brown recluse except that it is lighter in color and has a heart-shaped marking on its abdomen. It is found throughout North America.
As with the brown recluse, the hobo spider’s venom includes a toxic cocktail of neurotoxins and hemotoxins that affect the lymph nodes and internal organs. The bite usually goes initially unnoticed but will develop into a black spot on the site of the bite. These black spots are often the size of a quarter or larger.
Swelling, pain and fever may also occur.
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Fibrinogen, viscosity, and white blood cell count are major risk factors for ischemic heart disease. The Caerphilly and Speedwell collaborative heart disease studies. by JW Yarnell, IA Baker, PM Sweetnam, D Bainton… – Circulation, 1991 – Am Heart Assoc
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