spiderNobody wants to think about getting bit by a spider, but this is an event that unfortunately will happen to many people over the course of their lifetime. Most spiders do not bite, and those that bite typically do not have fangs long enough to penetrate entirely into the skin to cause serious problems for humans. However, there are some spiders that can pose a threat to your life. While some of these spider bites can become a serious problem for adults, it can be even more dangerous for small children or teenagers.

Identify a Poisonous Spider
While some people may think spiders are fascinating, others have a strong fear of even small spiders. The fact is that most spiders are relatively harmless to humans, and

  • There are two main types of spiders that cause more spider bite issues than any other species. These are the black widow and thebrown recluse.
  • The good news is that these are spiders that prefer to stay away from humans, and they live in undisturbed areas.
  • More than that, they typically will not bite unless they feel threatened in some way.

Nonetheless, they can and do bite from time and time, and it is important to know what to expect and when to seek medical attention.

When Bitten By a Spider
There are many biting insects and various types of skin conditions and rashes that mimic the look of a spider bite.

  • If you saw a spider bite you, you may consider moving forward with treatment options.
  • If you have a rash or sign of a bite but you are not sure what bit you, you need to monitor yourself for signs of a poisonous spider bite.
  • A brown recluse spider bite will generally cause the skin around the bite to decay or decompose. In some cases, fever and nausea may develop.
  • A black widow spider bite may cause nausea and vomiting.

Both of these spider bites can result in serious health conditions and even death if not treated properly, and this is especially true in case of young children.

Home Care Tips
If you believe or know that you have been bitten by a poisonous spider, you can follow a few home care tips at home before seeking medical treatment. For example;

  • You can apply a cold compress to the bite to slow the spread of the venom to other areas of the body.
  • You can also elevate the area to minimize blood flow.
  • If pain is significant, an over-the-counter pain medication may be taken.
  • Monitor the area for signs of swelling. It can be helpful to draw a circle around the initial perimeter of the bug bite.
  • If it continues to swell for more than 24 hours, you may seek medical attention.
  • If nausea, fever or other significant symptoms are present, then you may also seek treatment.

Keep in mind that topical treatments may be provided for brown recluse spider bites, and an anti-venom medication may be administered for black widow spider bites.

Always remember that not every insect bite is a spider bite. Furthermore, different people tend to react differently to a spider bite depending on their body’s resistance and skin sensitivity. Following these home care tips can be helpful for initial treatment, but care must be taken to monitor the skin around the bite and the general health status of the individual.

Medical care may be needed if symptoms worsen or if there are specific concerns. It is often better to err on the side of caution when dealing with spider bites, so seek medical attention if you are in doubt.

For more information, visit Careworks.

Author:  Michele Holincheck, FNP

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