I often joke that everything in Louisiana is trying to kill you. The potholes are Olympic swimming pool sized, natural disasters are on another level here, and the heat/humidity combo is nothing to joke about. I've never dealt with allergy issues until I moved here, because the plants are even trying to kill me.

All of those jokes aside, there are actually a lot of dangerous animals in Louisiana. From snakes to alligators, there are a lot of dangers out there. But creatures much smaller can also do a lot of harm too.

Louisiana is one of the few states where the brown recluse calls home.

The brown recluse spider is one of the most dangerous spiders living here in the US, and they can be found right here in Louisiana. Though you can die from its bite, that's quite uncommon. The bite frequently is not felt initially and may not be immediately painful, but it can be serious. Typically, they will bite when pressed against the skin, often from putting on clothes they're hiding in.

So if you're ever digging around in a closet or storage space, doing yard work, or putting your hands in any other dark places where where it is hard to see...be careful -- the brown recluse loves those spots.

The brown recluse spider likes dark places, including woodpiles and debris outside, and vents in your house, closets, garages, the attic, and in storage sheds. They also favor cardboard because it resembles their natural habit: rotting tree bark. If you need to go into your attic, turn on the light and wait at least 30 minutes before putting your hands where you can't see.

Here are some tips for dealing with brown recluse spiders...

How to Avoid Getting Bitten

  • Wear gloves if you are working outside in the yard in big piles of logs or leaves.
  • Shake out blankets and clothing that have been stored in the attic or the basement, or if they have been in a closet for a long period of time.
  • If you decide to wear shoes that have not been worn for a long time, shake them out before putting them on.

What to Do if Bitten

Seek medical attention from a doctor or hospital as soon as possible because the first few hours are crucial.

If you can't get medical help right away

  • Cover the bitten area with an antibacterial gel such as Neosporin.
  • Wrap with Saran Wrap if the location allows you to do so, if not cover the area with a band aid or gauze.
  • Take Motrin or another Non Steroid Anti Inflammatory.
  • Put an icepack on it for 20 minutes and repeat every hour.
  • DO NOT take a hot bath or allow any heat on the area because this will make the venom spread more rapidly.
  • Drink a lot of water to help flush out the poison from your body.