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Brown Recluse Bite? Grab a Stun Gun and Zap Away the Pain


Brown recluse spider

While Googling some information on brown recluse bites, my eyes were immediately drawn to two words that seemed out of place - stun gun. As in, "uses a stun gun to treat brown recluse bites," a snippet from an Arkansas newspaper article. That certainly aroused my curiosity.

Brown recluse spider
Photo: CDC

Before I continue, let me get this disclaimer out of the way. Should you decide to shock yourself with a stun gun or other similar device after reading my blog, I won't be held responsible. I'm not telling you to try it.

Dr. Stan Abrams, a family physician who's been in practice since 1973, reportedly uses a stun gun to treat brown recluse bites all the time, and with success. He's even created a website to share his stun gun technique with others. According to his site, there is a biological basis for using a shock to destroy the spider venom:

  • The current will influence the hydrogen bonds of the enzymes, destroying their secondary and tertiary structure.
  • The high voltage, low amperage current applied will reduce metal ions and zinc, copper, magnesium, iron, or calcium ions, which are firmly bound to some venom enzymes and are mandatory cofactors for these enzymes.
  • The electric particles interfere with the membrane as well as the positive charged polypeptides, decreasing their cytotoxic properties.

Word of the stun gun remedy seems to have spread and joined the ranks of other home remedies for bites. Some folks who live in brown recluse territory have added stun guns to their medicine cabinets.

I've never experienced a brown recluse bite myself, but I imagine the pain must be pretty severe if it drives people to whip out a stun gun and zap themselves with 100,000 volts of electricity. And I'd really like to meet the first guy who decided to try electrocuting himself to ease his spider bite pain.

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