Many people are irrationally afraid of spiders. Arachnophobia is one of the most common specific phobias, and can have a serious effect in some people, limiting their day-to-day activities. Some evolutionary psychologists believe an instinctive fear of spiders is a residual survival technique passed down from our ancestors, while others argue that it is more likely based on cultural beliefs about spiders.
Whatever the cause of our instinctive fear of spiders, in reality only a very small proportion spiders are harmful. In the US, the black widow spider and the brown recluse spider can inflict potentially harmful bites, but even these are rarely fatal.(1) Bites from any other spider found in the country are generally mild and can usually be managed at home.
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