Spider Bite Symptoms and 5 Simple Treatments
Sometimes, in the middle of the camping night with friends or relatives, you start feeling itching and notice redness on your leg, arm, or face. The first guess – an insect bit you. But what kind? If it was a big annoying mosquito then nothing is wrong. But what if your peaceful trip’s destroyer was a brown recluse spider or some of his more dangerous and poisonous “friends”? In this case, you need to learn how to distinguish the bad spider bites in order to seek a medical assistance for preventing the serious health dangers.
What is a spider bite?
Before treating a spider bite or arachnidism (as doctors call it) results from the bite of a spider. No surprises, so far. However, there are more than 40.000 different spider kinds in the United States and that is the catch. Almost all types of spiders have fangs and venom but only a few dozens of them can poison an adult human being to death. The nastiest spider types you need to avoid are the brown recluse, hobo, camel spiders and black widow.
The first symptoms of a spider bite
A spider bite’s itchy and scratch feeling is usually the first symptom that you will notice. It can be complicated for a person who has never seen common spider bites to recognize one from the similar bug bites.
The trick is that just like other bug bites a spider bite will likely to cause itchiness and pain. The intensity of the symptoms of a spider bite mostly depends on the spider’s type, the amount of the injected venom, and your personal body’s sensitivity to this kind of venom.
According to WebMD and Healthline experts, the general symptoms of a spider bite, despite the spider’s type, are:
- Mild pain;
In order to choose a proper spider bite remedy, you need to learn to distinguish the bites from the so-called “house spiders” from the potentially dangerous types. Luckily, there are “exclusive” signs of bites caused by different spiders.
The signs of a brown recluse spider bite
This is one of the most common spiders in the United States. You can recognize a brown recluse spider from six eyes and violin shape on the back. The symptoms of its bite include:
- This is an itchy spider bite with the increasing pain during the first 8 hours after being bitten;
- A bite may resemble a bull’s eye with the blister in the middle that leaves a small ulcer after scabbing;
- Body aches;
- Bites can heal on their own during 7 days;
- In rare cases, the skin at the bite’s center can become darker or bluish and turn into a deep open sore enlarging the surrounding skin. The ulcer may grow during 10 days after the bite. Without the timely treatment, the full healing may take a few months;
- It is possible to get the skin necrosis (death of a sizable skin’s area) causing a deep ulcer turning into the scar;
- Children may get the severe allergic reaction to the brown spider’s venom.
The signs of a black widow spider bite
- Burning and pain at the bite site – start within 60 minutes after being bitten;
- The pain may spread to the back, chest, and abdomen;
- Abdominal cramps that may be mistaken for appendicitis;
- Excess sweating and saliva;
- High blood pressure;
- Vomiting and nausea;
The signs of a wolf spider bite
Wolf spiders can’t be confused with any others because they have 2 bigger eyes than other 6 eyes on their ugly faces. The experts from Mayo Clinic name such signs of a wolf spider bite:
- Swollen lymph glands;
- The torn skin at the bite site with redness, pain, and swelling;
- Healing may take about 10 days.
Unfortunately, if you keep on ignoring the spider bite symptoms, there is a higher risk of getting the so-called “spider bite infection”. According to Mayo Clinic, about 85% of the patients with spider bites were also diagnosed with infections. The pitfall is that the potentially dangerous infections can be confused with harmless spider bites and, as a result, ignored. A spider bite infection usually reveals via swelling, inflammation, and slight fever. This infection can be easily treated.
However, you need to exclude the potential infections with the same symptoms:
- methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus infection, more commonly known as MRSA;
- bed bug bites;
- flea bites;
- poison ivy and other allergic reactions.
Also, frequently, a brown recluse spider bite can be confused with Lyme disease triggered by tick bites. That is why the accurate and timely diagnosis is so important.
The conventional treatment for spider bites
Mayo Clinic claims that most bites from “house spiders” don’t require the medical attention. Usually, the medical recommendations for a spider bite relief include:
- clean the spider bite;
- apply an antibiotic ointment;
- use a cold compress;
- elevate the bite site, if it is possible – when it is on a leg or arm;
- take over-the-counter (OTC) painkillers like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (Aspirin) and antihistamines (for instance, Benadryl);
- antibiotics may be recommended if there is a spider bite infection.
People who suffer from a black widow bite may also need the anti-venom injections for preventing the life-threatening risks.
5 home remedies for a spider bite relief
The most reasonable way of treating spider bites is to go to the local emergency. Seriously, if you are not sure what kind of a spider bit you, then don’t experiment and rush to the nearest hospital. However, when you are absolutely sure about the exact cause of your spider bite, then you may try one of 5 simple home remedies for spider bites:
- never scratch the bite area. It can prevent the development of a spider bite infection. The more you scratch, the more inflamed and redder the bite becomes;
- for treating most spider bites, you need to disinfect the affected area with clean water and soap. Then try applying an ice pack for reducing the swelling. The compress has to be repeated every 10 minutes, especially during the first few hours after a bite;
- elevation can be also helpful if you want to prevent the spread of the venom;
- try a homemade paste of baking soda and water. You need to apply it for a few times to reduce the itching and swelling;
- Applying the lavender essential oil on the bite area can relax the inflammation. This oil may speed up the process of healing. Don’t forget to dilute the lavender oil in a carrier oil like coconut oil.
When do you need to get the emergency medical help?
If you think that you spider bite can be potentially dangerous for your health, don’t expect the serious symptoms go away on their own. You need to seek a medical assistance as soon as possible. The most dangerous signs of spider bites are:
- Rapid spider bite swelling of your lips, throat, or tongue;
- If you have a spider bite on your face, it is possible to get swollen skin around the eyes;
- Complicated breathing;
- Severe itching, numbness, cramps;
- A spider bite rash or red color and with hives;
- Loss of consciousness;
- Stomach cramps.
If you prefer the home treatment for spider bites, then you need to keep an eye on your bite while it heals. Make sure to look out for the spider bite infection symptoms like increasing pain, redness, swelling, fever, swollen glands and other symptoms resembling a common cold or flu.