A spider bite usually only causes a red, raised bump that itches for a few hours. There may be some swelling over the affected area as well as some pain and tenderness, but after a while, it typically goes away. That is, if the spider is of the non-venomous or non-poisonous type.
The first-aid treatment for simple spider bites includes washing the area with soap and water as well as placing cold compress over the bitten site. The cold compress can help with the swelling. If the swelling is severe though, you can take antihistamine medication to help reduce swelling and itchiness. For pain, you can simply take a pain medication.
But what happens if a poisonous or venomous spider bites you? What should you do?
Venomous and Poisonous Spiders
Almost all spiders, in fact, have venom or poison. They use this substance to bring down or kill their prey. The reason though why humans don’t suffer that much from spider bites is because the venom is either too weak to really be that dangerous to us or the spider is too small for us to be put at risk. However, there are two types of spiders that put humans in very grave danger, and these are the brown recluse spider and the black widow spider.
Their bites cause not only redness as well as swelling to the bitten site, but also pain as well as itching. In addition to these common spider bite symptoms, the redness also tends to spread away from the bitten area, increasing the size of the affected area. After a few days, there will be some drainage and oozing from the bitten site, with increased pain and swelling. As the wound spreads, the victim starts experiencing some numbness and tingling sensation in the area. Discoloration of the affected area also occurs that the bitten site now looks like a bulls-eye, the center of which is much darker than its perimeter.
Unfortunately, victims of black widow and brown recluse spiders oftentimes think of the bite as a boil. It’s only after a few days when the wound has finally worsened will they seek medical attention, or when they begin experiencing the signs of anaphylaxis or severe allergic reaction such as:
- Severe headache and body aches.
- Chills with sweating.
- Stomach as well as leg cramps.
- Rapid heart rate.
- Fatigue, exhaustion, and weakness.
- Difficulty breathing and shortness of breath with wheezing.
- Widespread itchy, red, raised rash or hives.
What to Do
If the victim starts experiencing allergic reactions to the spider bite, he should seek immediate medical attention. Call 911 or have a friend or family member drive him to the hospital. The important thing is that he receives right treatment for the spider bite.
If possible, catch the spider and trap it in a bottle. The specimen can be shown to the doctor so he can administer the right drugs. There are no known anti-venoms yet, but the medications the victim will be receiving include antibiotics to prevent infection as well as tetanus shot. He will also be given antihistamine drugs to counteract the effects of the allergen as well as pain and anti-inflammatory meds for the pain and swelling.
Venomous spiders like the brown recluse and black widow are dangerous, so if you suspect you have these pests at home, then call your local pest control company immediately to get rid of them.
- License: Creative Commons image source
Jennifer Dallmeyer is a freelance content provider for several pest control companies such as Insight Pest Solutions. If you want to learn more about controlling spiders, some good tips can be found here.