Growing up, we all probably thought that a spider bite would morph us into the superhero of the block! But now, we know better, don’t we? It takes a real spider bite to snap you back to reality and look for ways to get rid of the pain. It is very often that you hear of complaints of bug bites from family or friends who have been on a recent trek. Research shows that between 2001-2010, about 20.8% of cases of non-canine bites were caused by arachnids (1).
If the bite looks serious and causes severe symptoms, the person must be rushed to the hospital. In the case of a milder reaction to spider or bug bites, you may use any of the remedies listed in this article to manage the symptoms.
In most cases, spider bites are usually harmless. Most people mistake other bug bites for spider bites. Some patients have also mistaken certain skin infections to be a spider bite.
Very few known species of spiders are poisonous and can cause harm to humans. The most well known of these species are the black widow spider and the brown recluse spider.
Spider bites that are slightly more serious can cause redness, itching, and swelling. However, if you are bitten by a black widow spider, you will experience abdominal cramps. Brown recluse spider bites cause a sharp pain.
If you have a severe bite, the skin around the bite will slowly turn purple, and blisters may appear.
Typically, you won’t notice a spider bite until a few hours after being bitten. It becomes easier to treat a spider bite if you can identify the spider that bit you. You can identify a spider bite on your skin if you see any of these:
Inhabiting areas where spiders are naturally found (especially dark places, including areas under rocks) can put you at a greater risk of spider bites. In the following section, we will look at the symptoms of a spider bite.
Spider bites are characterized by:
Spider bites take a longer time to heal as compared to other insect bites. It is essential to keep the bite clean to reduce the risk of infection.
It is always easier to treat a spider bite if you know the type of spider that caused it. Once you identify the bite, you must try to reduce the pain by applying a cold compress to it. You must rush to the hospital if the bite is accompanied by symptoms like nausea, cramping, and difficulty in breathing.
Let us now look into the steps taken by medical professionals to treat spider bite.
In case you need to seek medical intervention to treat the spider bite, your doctor will take the following steps:
If the bite is mild, you can try treating it at home. The following remedies can help.
Spider bites cause swelling and pain. Ice can work as an analgesic, and the cold pack might help reduce pain and inflammation in the affected area (2).
Repeat as needed until the pain subsides.
Research shows that aloe vera exhibits anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties (3). This may help reduce the swelling and the infection related to spider bites.
1 teaspoon of aloe vera gel
Do this 2 times daily.
Baking soda is a commonly used natural solution for itchiness and inflammation (4), (5). It can also be used to prevent further infection that may surface with a spider bite.
You can do this once daily until the redness and itching subside.
Witch hazel contains tannins, which are bioactive ingredients that possess anti-inflammatory properties (6). Thus, it could be used to manage the inflammation caused by the spider bite.
You may apply this to the affected area 3-4 times daily until the swelling reduces.
You may use this remedy 3-4 times daily.
Chamomile oil has anti-inflammatory properties (9). This can help reduce the swelling caused by the spider bite and promote faster healing.
You can repeat this remedy 3-4 times daily.
Potato exhibits anti-inflammatory properties (11). Hence, it may help reduce inflammation that surfaces with a spider bite.
You can repeat this remedy 1-2 times daily.
Spider bites are most likely to happen if you go on a trek or travel to heavily forested areas. Treating mild spider bites could be easy, but prevention is always better.
These remedies can help you manage the symptoms of spider bites. However, we urge you to consult your doctor if the symptoms persist or the bite appears grave.
Did you ever have a spider bite? How did you treat it? Let us know by sharing your experience in the box below.
When to see a doctor?
If the spider bite looks serious and is accompanied by symptoms like nausea and vomiting, restlessness, fatigue, etc., you must rush to the hospital.
How long do spider bites take to heal?
Spider bites, if serious, typically take about 6-8 weeks to heal completely. A mild spider bite will take about 1-3 weeks to heal.
How to tell if a brown recluse spider has bitten you?
If a brown recluse spider has bitten you, your skin will turn red at the site of the bite within a day or two. An itching sensation will accompany this. In a few days, the skin surrounding the bite becomes sore and will slowly turn purple.
How do you know when a spider bite is bad?
A spider bite can be deemed serious if the redness near the bite becomes severe after the first 24 hours. If the pain increases and you start to notice the site of the bite developing blisters, you must seek medical help immediately.
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