No, that probably is not a brown recluse bite, I’m sorry to say

This, THIS! Is a Brown Recluse, honey.
This, THIS! Is a Brown Recluse, Radel.

I think I love this press release from UC-Riverside. Yes, it is nicely written and has a fine, eye-catching headline. (Really, I appreciate these things.)

I think I love it, however, because it doesn’t solve a problem for me. In fact, it creates new ones. And, sometimes, you have to appreciate the beauty in the world burning (and itching). Every spider in my house is a brown recluse. Just is. Until proven otherwise. And, perhaps that’s the safest way to negotiate a world that contains brown recluse spiders, even if they really aren’t an issue here in Jenkintown.

Basically, in a JAMA Dermatology paper,  researchers suggest that a misdiagnosis of a brown recluse bite could mask other serious skin conditions. When I first saw this press release, I somehow thought it would be about how rare these bites are and how easily misdiagnosed. Nope, it turns out that, with some skin conditions, you might just prefer the bite. That’s not going to go over well in Stinkbug Manor.

Another reason to love this press release–this video:


That’s just gorgeous.

But it gets better! The UC-Riverside entomologist and his dermatology pals at University of Missouri Health Sciences Center (I say the whole thing to make the Missouri flacks happy) even came up with a mnemonic device: NOT RECLUSE. Which, well, a little on the nose, but there you go.

For example, the REC of NOT RECLUSE indicates Red, Elevated and Chronic. Recluse bites are whitish blue or purple (not red), flat (not elevated) and don’t last more than 3 months. So, if a patient has a wound that is elevated or red or persists more than 3 months, something other than brown recluse bite should be considered.

Then the release goes into  little biographical detail about the lead author, Rick Vetter, now retired UC-Riverside, who wrote a book on the topic and created a map of where you can find brown recluse spider populations.

Note: Not Pennsylvania