Spiders, Prickly Pears, and Tetanus! - 58tinton.win

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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Spiders, Prickly Pears, and Tetanus!

Since moving to Prescott, Arizona, I have noticed a decrease in scorpions in and around my home, but an increase in spiders. Walking the mighty dog-beast this morning, I chanced upon a flowering prickly pear (lovely) that was draped in spider webs.

These webs are all over our neighborhood and mighty spouse has conquered at least four spiders since we moved in.

The webs appear to be from funnel weaving spiders, and apparently funnel weaving spiders get nice and busy in the Spring, specifically, in May.

So it is nice to know that the spiders in my neighborhood are following the natural order of things.

In the vein of safety, I offer you the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tips from the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) re: venomous spiders.

Venomous spiders in the U.S. include: black widow, brown recluse, and hobo spiders. Spiders easily get inside buildings and present a risk to indoor workers as well as outdoor workers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), insects and arachnids were responsible for approximately 48% of nonfatal occupational or workplace injuries involving animals from 1992-1997.

Spiders are not (usually) aggressive; most spider bites happen because a spider is trapped or accidentally contacted. NIOSH states that "It is important for employers to educate their workers about their risk of exposure to venomous spiders, how they can prevent and protect themselves from spider bites, and what they should do if they are bitten." 

NIOSH recommends that employers should protect their workers from spider bites by training them on:
  • Their risk of exposure to spiders
  • How to identify spiders (photos on website)
  • How to prevent exposure to spiders
  • What they should do if they are bitten by a spider
Since safety is all about preventing the injury before it occurs, NIOSH also provides a list of preventative steps for workers:
  • Inspect or shake out any clothing, shoes, towels, or equipment before use.
  • Wear protective clothing such as a long-sleeved shirt and long pants, hat, gloves, and boots when handling stacked or undisturbed piles of materials.
  • Minimize the empty spaces between stacked materials.
  • Remove and reduce debris and rubble from around the outdoor work areas.
  • Trim or eliminate tall grasses from around outdoor work areas.
  • Store apparel and outdoor equipment in tightly closed plastic bags.
  • Keep your tetanus boosters up-to-date (every 10 years). Spider bites can become infected with tetanus spores.
The Mayo Clinic has helpful first aid recommendations for spider bites:
  • Clean the bite with mild soap and water.
  • Apply cold packs to the bite, to reduce pain and inflammation.
  • If the bite is on an extremity such as an arm or leg, keep it elevated.
  • Take over-the-counter pain relievers as needed.
  • Observe the bite for signs of infection.
A note re: the tetanus booster - the spider itself is not likely to be carrying the bacteria Clostridium tetani, it's the fact the the bite is a puncture wound and dirt carrying the bacteria gets in the wound, which therefore can become infected.

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