Spider Bite

1 What is a spider bite?

Spider bites are usually harmless. In fact, many bites attributed to spiders turn out to have been infected by other bugs.

Skin infections have also been mistaken as spider bites. Only a few types of spiders have fangs strong enough to penetrate the skin and venom lethal enough to cause severe disorders. These include the black widow spider and brown recluse spider.

Black widow spider bite symptoms include abdominal pain and cramping, while brown recluse spider bites can cause the skin around the bite to die. Both of these spiders never usually come into contact with people because they live in undisturbed areas.

2 Symptoms

Spider bite symptoms vary depending on the type of spider. 

Here are some of the most common spider bite symptoms:

  • Pain around or at the bite site
  • Rash or Itching
  • Red or purple-colored blisters
  • Cramping or muscle pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Headache
  • Sweating
  • Chills
  • Anxiety or restlessness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fever
  • High blood pressure
  • Swollen lymph glands

Black widow spider bites

Black widow spiders are poisonous spiders found throughout the world, but they are most common in Southern and Western states of the United States. These are recognized by their shiny, black and hourglass-shaped red patches on the abdomen. Some spiders have simple red patched on their back.

They prefer to live in:

  • Sheds
  • Garages
  • Abandoned places
  • Woodpiles

A black widow’s spider bite is very rare because they are not usually aggressive. They only bite when they feel threatened. In most cases, bites aren’t serious, but they can be life-threatening at times. Immediate medical attention is required if a black widow spider has bitten you.

Symptoms of a black widow spider bite:

  • Pain: Begins within an hour of the bite and is present in the abdomen and back
  • Cramping: Abdominal cramping sometimes can be mistaken as appendicitis or rupture of appendix
  • Sweating: Excessive sweating can occur around the bite 

Some other symptoms may include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Burning at the site
  • Headache
  • Increased saliva and perspiration
  • Numbness
  • Restlessness
  • Nausea and vomiting

Brown recluse spider bite

Brown recluse spiders are venomous spiders usually found in the central and southern United States. These spiders have a characteristic dark brown, violin-shaped patch behind their head. They prefer to live in warm climates, and therefore can be found in warm places like:

  • Tennessee
  • Missouri
  • Arkansas
  • Kansas
  • Eastern Texas
  • Oklahoma
  • Louisiana

Brown recluse spiders are usually found in undistributed areas and they prefer to live indoors such as:

  • In basements or attics
  • Behind bookshelves
  • In dressers and rarely used cupboards

Although brown recluse spiders are poisonous, they rarely bite people. Still, if you are bitten by this spider, you should call your doctor immediately or go to the emergency room. While most brown recluse spider bites aren’t serious, they can be lethal in some cases.

Symptoms of a brown recluse spider bite

  • Pain increases during the first eight hours after the initial spider bite. The majority of people heal within one week after the spider bite
  • Rarely, the skin at the center of the bite might become dark and develop a deep ulcer
  • This ulcer usually stops growing typically after 10 days

Rarely, it may also cause:


Wolf spider bites

Wolf spiders can be found throughout the United States. Measuring 3 to 4 inches, these spiders look similar to tarantulas. They are mainly recognized by the 2 large eyes in the middle of the face, along with 6 smaller eyes.

Wolf spiders prefer to live in:

  • Sand and gravel
  • Around the bases of doors and windows
  • In house plants

Symptoms of a wolf spider bite

Being bitten by a wolf spider can be a very painful experience:

  • The site becomes red and swollen
  • It may also lead to swollen lymph glands. Swelling will stay for several days
  • The bite can also cause tissue damage in rare cases
  • For some people, it may take up to 10 days to heal

Camel spider bites

Camel spiders are mainly found in very hot, desert climates. They are recognized by their characteristic sand color and a powerful pincer on the head. Camel spiders are attracted towards cooler and dark places and it can even be your shadow. Typically measuring 2 to 3 inches, these spiders run very fast and can even grow up to 6 to 8 inches in length in some places.

They are not venomous, but they have large jaws that can leave deeper wounds in skin. Due to an open wound, you may get an infection. Immediate medical treatment is required.

  • The initial bite is terribly painful
  • The surrounding tissues become swollen
  • If bitten by a camel spider, you may experience mild to intense bleeding

Banana spider bites

Banana spiders are 3 different types of spiders:

  1. The Brazilian wandering spider (Poisonous)
  2. The golden silk orb-weaver (Non-poisonous)
  3. Argiope appensa (Non-poisonous)

They can be found in Asia, Africa, Australia, and southeastern US states such as Texas and North Carolina. Measuring 2 inches long, these spiders are similar to the black widow spider, but they are mildly venomous.

Symptoms of banana spider bite

  • Pain and discomfort at the bitten site
  • Appearance of red blisters
  • Possible swelling

House spider bites

House spider species belong to the Tegenaria group. These include domestic spiders, common house spiders, giant house spiders, and hobo spiders. While others aren’t that aggressive, hobo spiders are very dangerous. They are mostly found in the Pacific Northwest. In indigenous Europe, they are mostly found in fields and rarely enter human habitations. Hobo spiders are very aggressive because they have very weak eye sight.

Giant house spiders are commonly found in houses and other man-made structures in Europe.

Symptoms of house spider bites

  • Pain at the site surrounding the wound
  • Possible swelling of tissues
  • Hardening of tissues surrounding the bitten area
  • Blisters may develop 24 to 48 hours after the bite
  • A scar forms in place of the scabbed-over ulcer 45 days after the bite

Spider Bites

3 Making a diagnosis

Tests and diagnosis for spider bite are done based on history along with spider bite sy.

However, specific diagnosis is difficult to confirm.

Confirmation requires:

  • Eye witness of spider bite
  • Identification of the spider by expert
  • Exclusion of other possible causes

What do spider bites look like?

If you witnessed a spider biting you, it is then very easy to identify a spider bite. However, a wound may not appear immediately. It may take several hours to show up.

In order to identify, look for things like red welts, swelling, skin damage, or other troubling symptoms. It often looks like other insect bites. It looks like a red inflamed bump that may be painful or itchy. 

Do spider bites itch?

Yes, spider bites are often itchy and uncomfortable. If bitten by a spider, you will develop a red, protruding bump at the site of the bite. It’s good to immediately clean the site using warm soapy water to prevent infection.

Apply a cold ice pack to reduce pain, itching, and inflammation. You can also take an antihistamine to reduce itching. If blisters are developing, apply antibiotic ointment as recommended by your doctor.

4 Treatment

Treatment for mild spider bite symptoms is usually not required.

However, some of the following methods are used to treat any spider bite:

  • Clean the area of bite with soapy water
  • Apply cold packs to the bite in order to reduce pain and inflammation
  • Take over the counter pain relievers
  • Observe the bite for signs of infection

Tetanus boosters are also recommended and antibiotics will be prescribed if any signs of infections are seen.

5 How to prevent spider bites

Some of the following steps or measures must be taken to prevent spider bites:

  • Wear long sleeves, hat, gloves, and boots when handling boxes or firewood, and when cleaning out sheds, garages, basements attics, and crawlspaces
  • Inspect and shake out garden gloves and shoes before wearing them
  • Use tight-fitting windows, doors, and sealing
  • Discard old boxes and clothing where spiders can live, remove piles of rocks, avoid storing firewood against the house, vacuum spiders and spider webs, and dispose of  them in sealed bags to prevent re-entry into the house 

6 Alternative and homeopathic remedies to cure spider bites

Some of the following home remedies can be followed to reduce spider bite symptoms:

  • Apply a cold compress to the affected area to reduce pain and inflammation
  • Wash the wound with warm soapy water
  • Wash the affected area with anti-septic liquid to prevent contamination

7 Lifestyle and coping

Although spider bites are usually not life-threatening some lifestyle methods can be taken to prevent further complications of spider bites.

They include: 

  • Cleaning any bug bites with warm soapy water
  • Staying calm

Coping from spider bites does not take much time. Within 10 days, spider bites usually heal themselves.

Seek medical attention immediately if symptoms linger or worsen.

8 Risks and Complications

Although life-threatening spider bites are rare but risks of the person acquiring spider bite depends on the location of person.

Both black widow and brown recluse spiders prefer warm, dark and dry climate.

Black widow habitat

In United States black widow spider is mostly found in southwestern states. They prefer to live in

  • sheds,
  • garages,
  • unused spots
  • and woodpiles.

Brown recluse habitat

They are mostly found in southern Midwest and limited areas in south. They are usually found in undistributed areas they prefer to live indoors such as:

  • the clutter of basement or attics,
  • behind bookshelves
  • and dressers and rarely used cupboards.

Complication of spider bites are not very severe. In children and in older people with serious health problems these spider bites might cause severe complications.

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