Have you ever gotten a bug bite but had no idea what bit you? Mosquito bites are fairly common and recognizable. But what about a spider bite?
All spiders have fangs and some spider fangs can break through human skin and inject venom causing harm. Spider bites most often occur in self-defense when a spider feels trapped, such as in a boot or in your sheets. While most spiders are harmless and irritation from a bite goes away in less than 24 hours, dangerous spiders include the black widow, brown recluse, hobo, wolf, and camel spiders.
To know for sure if you’ve been bitten by a spider, it’s important to know the symptoms so you can get the right treatment. The good news is, serious medical complications and deaths from spider bites are not common.
Spider Bite Signs & Symptoms
It can be hard to figure out which type of spider bit you because it may not be noticed until hours after it happened. Spider bites can be similar to a regular bug bite: red, itchy, and inflamed. Depending on the type of spider, bite symptoms can range from mild to severe. The intensity can depend on the type of spider, the amount of venom injected, and your body’s sensitivity to venom.
The following are the general symptoms of a spider bite:
- Mild pain
Symptoms of a serious spider bite, such as a bite by a black widow, brown recluse, or wolf spider, include:
- Burning and pain at the bite area
- Pain spreading to the chest or abdomen
- An increase in sweat and saliva production
- Nausea and vomiting
- High blood pressure
- Fever, chills, body aches
- Dark blue or purple color at the center of a bite resulting in an ulcer
- Death to a sizeable area of the skin causing a deep scarring ulcer
- Possible allergic reaction in children
Spider Bite Treatment
If you suspect a spider has bitten you and you have the spider, bring it with you to your doctor so they can determine the best treatment based on the species. Take the following steps to care for a spider bite:
- Wash the area with soap and water.
- Use a cold, damp cloth or ice to apply a cool compress to the site.
- If the bite is on an extremity, elevate the area where the bite is located.
- Avoid scratching the bite area. The more you scratch, the itchier and more inflamed it can become.
- Take aspirin or acetaminophen and antihistamines to relieve pain or swelling in adults. Use caution when giving aspirin to children or teenagers.
If spider bite symptoms are severe or progressively worsen over 24 hours, seek medical attention right away.