What Should I Know about Spider Bite Treatment?

A cold compress may offer relief for itching and pain.
An allergic reaction to a spider bite may require use of an epipen.
Anti-itch creams can be applied to a spider bite.
Article Details
  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Images By: Rimglow, Greg Friese, April Cat
  • Last Modified Date: 24 June 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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The right type of spider bite treatment depends on the type of spider bite. While spider bites can be irritating and even alarming, most spider bites are not dangerous for human beings. Still, many bumps and bite marks get blamed on arachnids, even though they have often been inflicted by other animals or insects. In fact, many spider bites are so harmless that they go entirely unnoticed.

Before beginning spider bite treatment, a person has to be sure that he’s been bitten by a spider. Someone may develop such symptoms as swelling, redness, itching, and pain after being bitten by a spider, but other insects can cause the same reaction. Even worse, the bite of the brown recluse spider can cause a very nasty sore, but many don’t go to the doctor for at least a few days after noticing the bite. This can make it difficult to determine what actually bit the patient.

If a person is sure he’s been bitten by a spider, he may want to perform some type of home care. However, there aren’t any specific first aid spider bite treatments. He may apply an anti-itch cream, a cold compress, or an analgesic lotion to relieve the pain or itching. An oral pain medication, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, may be helpful as well.

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Many people worry most about bites inflicted by black widow and brown recluse spiders; a black widow spider may deliver a bite that feels like a prick from a tiny needle. The unlucky recipient of a bite from this spider may notice a bit of swelling in the area and may also observe some light-looking red marks. The obvious trouble begins after a few hours, when the person begins to feel severe pain and notice stiffness. He may also notice such symptoms as chills, fever, nausea, and pain in the abdominal area; he should seek emergency spider bite treatment from a local hospital or urgent care facility, which may include the use of ant venom. On the way to the hospital, it may help to apply a tight bandage above the bite to impair the spread of venom.

When the brown recluse spider bites, the bite area may sting a bit. After a time, it may become reddened, and intense pain may follow several hours later. Typically, a blister develops at the bite site and fills with fluid, eventually developing into an ulcer that is large and deep. Though rare, these bites can lead to death, particularly when children are bitten. If bitten by this spider, it is best to tie a bandage above the bite area to slow down the spread of the spider’s toxic venom, and then seek medical help with spider bite treatment.

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Discuss this Article

Alchemy
Post 3

I was always told that the rule of thumb for treating swelling related to insect bite symptoms is to use cold and not hot. Hot stimulates blood circulation and this is not wanted when you have been bitten by a venomous creature. Cold will soothe the pain, reduce the swelling, and slow the circulation in the area, preventing the venom from circulating farther. I know this also goes for most snake bites too (no heat), although I think you are not supposed to do anything to a snake bite besides get the person to the hospital.

highlighter
Post 2

What is the proper spider bite swelling treatment? A small spider bit me a while back and I can remember that it caused the area to be swollen and painful to the touch for a couple of days. I don't think it was anything severely poisonous, just a bite that I had a reaction too. Should I put heat or cold on the area, or does it matter?

GenevaMech
Post 1

I just want to add that brown recluse spiders only cause necrotic sores and reactions in about ten percent of bites. Ninety percent of the time, someone who is bitten by a recluse will be just fine. I would also like to add that the only brown recluse bites that have caused confirmed deaths is the common brown recluse found east of the Mississippi. There are other recluse spiders, like the Arizona Recluse, that can deliver venomous bites with necrotic effects, but they have never recorded a death. Brown recluse spiders are also sluggish and mild mannered, only biting people when threatened. A recluse spider bite still warrants treatment, but it should not necessarily be a means to panic. Besides, panicking always makes envenomation worse. The heart beats faster, and blood pressure rises causing the symptoms to magnify.

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