Yellow Sac Spider Bite colors women’s fingers purple and porcelain white


A woman in Chicago was left with a swollen finger that turned purple and porcelain white after being bitten by a yellow sac spider. The 53-year-old was examined at a dermatology clinic about 36 hours after the spider bite when the fifth finger of her right hand became discolored and painful.

Yellow sac spiders are widespread in the United States. They can be found in gardens during the warmer seasons and go indoors when it gets colder in the fall. They are active hunters, so instead of building a net to catch them, they look for prey. Yellow sac spiders can be recognized by their yellow bodies and brown fangs. They are small and measure less than a centimeter (less than half an inch) in length.

There are two types of yellow sac spider in the United States – Cheiracanthium mildei and Cheiracanthium inclusum. The former was introduced from Europe in the 1940s, while C. inclusum is a native species.

Yellow sac spiders are known to bite people. These spiders are responsible for more human bites than any other species in the United States, according to Michigan State University. It is said that they “bite easily” and “have been observed to crawl across the surface of the human skin and bite without provocation”.

In a case report of a yellow sac spider bite published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), Adam S. Cifu and Sarah L. Stein of the University of Chicago documented a case in which a woman was bitten and managed to bring the Spider to the clinic. She was examined and her finger was red with a “somber center”. She was treated with pain medication and ointment, but the next day the discoloration had worsened and her finger was swollen and “exquisitely tender”. Six days later, the swelling was gone, but the skin had turned purple and porcelain white.

The woman’s finger turned red, purple, and porcelain white over the course of a week after the first bite.
The New England Journal of Medicine © 2021

Stein told Newsweek that she very rarely treats yellow sac spider bites. “Patients often come with a single inflamed lesion that they attribute to a ‘spider bite,’ but they have neither seen nor seen a spider,” she said. “These lesions are more commonly a localized abscess due to frequent bacterial infection.”

The reaction, Stein said, was typical of a yellow sack spider. She said that when people think they have been bitten by a yellow poke spider, anti-inflammatory and pain reliever drugs help. She also said protecting the area with petroleum jelly and a bandage.

The woman was completely healed two weeks after her first bite. “The spiders typically bite people who are sleeping or getting dressed, with the bite causing localized pain, redness, and swelling, usually without progressing to necrosis, as in this case,” the case report concluded.

yellow sack spider
Stock photo of a yellow bag spider, Cheiracanthium inclusum. A woman was treated in a Chicago hospital after being bitten by one of these spiders.
Getty Images

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