How to Treat a Spider Bite

woman looking at spider bite on her arm

Understanding how to treat a spider bite is important to help prevent serious injury. The good news is that serious spider bites are rare. Most spider bites are not dangerous, and spiders rarely bite humans unless threatened or in direct contact, like while putting on a shoe or working in the garage. In fact, the fangs of most spider species are too short to penetrate human skin.

However, there are two common species of venomous spiders in the United States: the brown recluse and black widow spider.

If you suspect you may have been bitten by a spider, the Emergency Room at River’s Edge Hospital & Clinic as well as the Urgent Care Department can provide fast, effective treatment. Learn how to treat a spider bite at home and when you need medical care from the experts.

Symptoms of a Spider Bite

For most people, a spider bite may appear like a bee sting or mosquito bite. In some instances, small puncture wounds may be visible. Mild, non-allergic symptoms include:

  • Pain, stinging or itching
  • Redness
  • Swelling

If you’ve been bitten by a poisonous spider, you may experience more serious symptoms. Medical providers can treat spider bites faster if they can identify the species of the spider, so leave any lingering stingers in the bod

Spider bites from a brown recluse include the following symptoms:

  • Body rash
  • Fever, chills and body aches
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Pain at the site within two to eight hours
  • Redness
  • Stiffness or pain in the joints
  • Swelling

On the other hand, spider bites from a black widow include these symptoms:

  • Abdominal pain or stiffness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Painful muscle cramps within eight hours of the bite

Some people may have an allergic reaction to insect bites, including spider bites. The following symptoms are signs of an allergic reaction and require immediate medical attention:

  • Breathing problems
  • Chest pain, tightness or wheezing
  • Difficulty swallowing or speaking
  • Facial swelling or swelling around the mouth

How to Treat a Spider Bite at Home

Mild symptoms can be treated at home by washing the area well with soap and water, and then applying an ice pack to reduce pain and swelling. Over-the-counter pain medication or antihistamines can be used as necessary to reduce discomfort and swelling.

If someone is showing signs of an allergic reaction, experiences a rash or severe pain, or has been bitten by a brown recluse or black widow, seek immediate medical attention.

How to Prevent Spider Bites

Brown recluse and black widow spiders prefer dark, undisturbed outdoor areas such as woodpiles, outdoor structures and shelters, and the woods.

Keep these areas free of spider webs and wear protective clothing when working in attics, garages and outdoors.

Need fast effective treatment for spider or insect bites? Get emergency care you can trust at River’s Edge Hospital Emergency Room.

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