Don't pee on a jellyfish sting, and other venom no-nos


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Who are the psychos who don’t get something checked out because they think it’s just a spider bite? If a spider bites me, I’m getting my ass to the hospital.


For a while I collaborated with Dr. Rick Vetter, an arachnologist and ardent spider supporter from UC Riverside. He was absolutely fascinating, his passion for the recluse family unmatched by almost any other I’ve seen int he professional world. I learned more from him about spider bites than I have from any media-hyped “BROWN RECLUSE SCARE IN SAN FRANCISCO!!!” article.

I don’t remember where I was going with this, but I can assure you it was good. I think it was something along the lines of, spider bites are rarely bad. Even brown recluse bites, which are nonexistent on the west coast, (refer to Dr. Vetter’s papers on brown recluse media hype,) rarely lead to tissue necrosis if the bite is washed and bandaged. Nowhere near enough venom is injected to cause systemic poisoning in those cases either. More often the bite is from a harmless grass spider, and infection set in because the bite wasn’t sterilized

The point of it all is, I think now I’m just brain vomiting all this stuff he taught me because it’s semi relevant and I miss that experience. Spiders are cool.


In almost any first world country, you’d be absolutely right to say this. There is one glaring exception that charges patients bankrupting fees for doctor visits, especially if they aren’t insured… Not naming names.


I live in a place with very, very few dangerous spiders.

So, if I wake up and find something that looks like a mosquito bite with a ~1cm diameter, I think, “damn spiders” and go on with my day.

If I woke up and something looked “bad,” then yeah, doctor. But I’m not getting something checked out because “Hey, that’s a bit bigger than a mosquito bite and itches.”


Only 3.8% of what people call “spider bites” are really from spiders.

Wow, I have been getting that really wrong for many years.


If gets out, I won’t get to pee on anybody!


I should be glad constantly that I don’t live in a country where things regularly bite me in my sleep. Also that the healthcare isn’t too messed up. Yet.

Also, I can drink tea without people thing I’m weird. I say, what what?!


Eh. The spiders eat the things that would eat my books.

I consider it a fair trade.


Maybe, but I also don’t have things that eat frickin’ books


BTW, I am imagining a cute gremlin (pre evil) eating those books of yours.


Well you never know, that’s a kink for some people


The number of people I’ve encountered who have some story about being bitten by a brown recluse–even in regions where they don’t exist or are extremely rare–is mind boggling. And whatever you do–don’t try to tell them it almost certainly wasn’t a brown recluse bite or they’ll almost always get angrily indignant–it’s like you’re trying to take away some badge of honor or something.


I have never heard of peeing on the jellyfish before - just onto the site of the sting.


And now those people won’t have jellyfish stings as an excuse to!

It’s worse than it sounds. First you have to catch up to them in the water. Then you somehow have pee on them while you’re both under water. And the whole time the chef is trying to pull you out of the restaurant’s lobster tank.


Well you never know, that’s a kink for some people


I grew up with one of those science fact book about spiders and spend many a happy hour trying to track down and identify them as a boy. Is it just me, or is arachnophobia now in vogue?


Maybe. Our neighbourhood has plenty of huge Hunter spiders that like to walk across my floor and then disappear just as I’m getting into bed at night. And we have just enough Brown Recluses and Black Widows around to make me think about the damn things when I see a gigantic spider on the wall.

That said, we live in a wetland and have almost zero mosquitos, I suspect because so few of them survive the overlapping spiderwebs between the house and any standing water.

I once had a jellyfish sting me across the face while diving. Intensely painful for about an hour, and then zero pain and a cool rash for a week or so. I knew about the peeing thing but opted not to try it - now I’m glad.


In mainstream reporting, arachnophobia came into vogue probably 15 years ago or so, and plateaued several years after. (I’ll need to pull up some papers to look at the statistics.)
In contrast, academia is the exact opposite, and spiders are very much in vogue now. Everyone wants a slice of the spider pie,


Aww! Those are practically cute! In North America, I don’t worry about spiders. If I lived in Australia, it might be a different story, but everything in Australia seems to be venomous. There is one, ONE venomous mammal in the whole world, and where does it live? Fucking Australia, that’s where.