Spider Bites and How to Treat Them
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Spider Bites and How to Treat Them

Spider bites can be serious and even deadly for anyone bit by a Black Widow spider or Brown Recluse spider that does not receive medical treatment. Knowing what to do if you get a spider bite and how to treat them is extremely important.

Many people misconstrue a dot on the skin or red spot or splotches as a spider bite. The majority of what we believe is a spider bite is not. We receive spider bites more often than we think. In fact, the majority of spider bites are harmless to the human body and spider bite symptoms of common spiders go unnoticed and untreated because they don’t cause any discomfort. Nearly all spiders are poisonous because this is how a spider hunts. The majority of spiders have venom too weak to cause any harm so we rarely notice their bites. With over 37,500 species of spiders in the world the chances of running into a spider are enormous. Knowing what to do if you have a spider bite and how to treat them is important.

The Brown Recluse spider bites and similar bites from their deadly cousins are the ones we hear about in the news and are both dangerous and deadly to the human population. There are several other species of recluse spiders, but the Brown Recluse is the most deadly. The Brown Recluse spider has a mark on the midsection that is similar to the shape of a violin and is located only in the southeastern area of the country. Avoid these at all costs. This is not a spider bite that will go unnoticed with anyone that receives a bite from them.

Black Widow spiders are believed to be the most deadly spider found in America and probably the most familiar. Any spider that is shiny and black with a red mark belongs to the widow family of spiders and should be regarded with extreme caution.

Brown Recluse spider bites will cause large wounds, but are less likely to cause the degree of injury seen with the Black Widow spider bites. There are other medical conditions such as staph infections which can cause skin boils that are misdiagnosed as Brown Recluse spider bites. A Black Widow spider bite is not confused with other medical conditions and is generally diagnosed from the symptoms the bite causes in the victim.

Several other lesser known spiders have names that are familiar with a bite that will create some sort of reaction , but are not poisonous as the Brown Recluse spider or Black Widow spider. The Wolf spider bites or Desert recluse spider bites will irritate humans, but they are not a deadly spider bite.

It is close to impossible to determine whether a victim has been bit by a spider. Even if you can confirm a spider bite many times you cannot confirm which poisonous or venomous spider bit the victim. Studies have been done on Brown Recluse spider bite victims that reveal the majority of victims that have been bit, seek medical care on average at least three days following the bite.  Victims that let three days pass from the original bite date make it more than difficult to find or locate the original perpetrator of the spider bite to confirm.

Treatment for spider bites

All toxic bug bites look alike. They have similar characteristics which include; swelling, redness, itching and pain at the location. Sometimes the pain can radiate or spread from the original bite location. If the following spider bite symptoms occur within 24 hours of the bite, call a physician;

  • drainage from the original spider bite location
  • pain increases or gets worse
  • tingling or numbness
  • discoloration of the skin around the bite which resembles a bulls eye

medical care from a physician is important if the victim of a spider bite is not up to date on a tetanus shot. Allergic reactions or anaphylaxis is always the biggest concern with any bug bite, especially poisonous spider bites. If a spider bite victim has any signs of anaphylaxis seek emergency room care as soon as possible.

Signs of anaphylaxis or allergic reactions include;

  • shortness of breath
  • wheezing
  • hives
  • weakness

A victim of a Black Widow spider bite will have symptoms in other parts of the body other than the bite site. The toxin from Black Widow spider bites will effect nerve function and muscle contraction. Severe Brown Recluse spider bites have a universal reaction over the entire body of a victim. Victims will have body aches, become flushed, sweat, have headaches, chills, stomach and leg cramps along with feeling weak. Any spider bite victims that complain of feeling weak should seek emergency medical care.

Other things that may mimic a spider bite or spider bite symptoms include; chemical reactions, allergies, some side effects from medications or even skin infections.

There are thousands of different bug bites that may make you think you have a spider bite. Always review pictures of spider bites if you are not certain whether or not you have received a bite from a spider or seek the advice of a physician to make certain.

Home Remedies for spider bites

There are some home remedies that many people have used for spider bite treatment. However, none have shown to be of real benefit. Some home remedies include meat tenderizer. Meat tenderizer has been implicated in asthma attacks and other allergic reactions for some patients. Suction syringes are sold over the counter and are little use for treating toxins from poisonous spider bites. If you suspect a spider bite don’t try home remedy spider bite treatments, seek medical attention. 

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Comments (8)

In Colorado, we have the brown recluse and I have seen only one of these. Black Widows are everywhere.

Yikes! Just a little afraid of the creatures. Great read!

I agree with you Cheryl!

I am not afraid of spiders, I always try to catch them and release in the wild. There are no deadly ones where I live now, but I use to live in a place where there were Black widows - what people need to realize is spiders are not murderous killers they do not want to bite, they do so when scared or bothered.

Thank you for the info, voted. : )

I had an infestation of wolf spiders about five years ago. Fortunately, our exterminator was able to get rid of them. Good information.

Nothing like a good spider article to make myself feel itchy and crawly everywhere!

I normally stay away from spiders and have someone else kill them for me, but I always wondered what would I do if a spider actually bit me.....except I forget when I'm online and never look up remedies. Thanks for the article!