What is spider bite?

Though many people are afraid of spiders, they rarely bite people unless threatened. Most spider bites are harmless. Occasionally, spider bites can cause allergic reactions. In fact, if you didn’t actually see the spider bite you, the bump, bite, rash, or redness you’re experiencing could be a wide range of things, from other kinds of bug bites to pimples or cysts or a skin infection of some kind like strep or MRSA.

Even medical professionals are usually unsure of what might have caused a bite unless the bug was caught or it’s giving distinctive symptoms. Though most spiders are technically poisonous, in the vast majority of cases, their fangs are too small to cause humans much trouble. Usually an itchy, red wound that goes away in about a week is the only result of most spider bites. However, some spiders are particularly poisonous so stay alert of your symptoms.

How common is Spider bite?

Spider bite can affect patients at any age. It can be managed by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.


What are the symptoms of spider bite?

The common symptoms of Spider Bite are:

  • Swelling at the site of the bite;
  • Itching or burning;
  • Local numbness or tingling.

Bites of poisonous spiders may produce these symptoms:

  • Intense pain at the site of the wound;
  • Stiffness or joint pain;
  • Muscle spasms;
  • Abdominal pain, nausea or vomiting;
  • Fever or chills;
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing;
  • A spreading, ulcerated wound or tissue death;
  • Dizziness, impaired speech or convulsions;
  • A deep blue or purple area around the bite, which may develop a red ring around it;
  • Excessive sweating.

There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should I see my doctor?

You should contact your doctor if you have any of the following:

  • You are unsure whether the bite was from a poisonous spider.
  • The person who was bitten experiences severe pain, abdominal cramping or a growing ulcer at the bite site.
  • The person who was bitten isn’t breathing.
  • Hives;
  • Fever;
  • Nausea;
  • Vomiting;
  • Swelling of face, lips, or throat;
  • Breathing problems;
  • Shock;
  • If the wound gets continually worse or spreads after applying basic first aid.

If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.


What causes spider bite?

Some spiders have poisonous fangs. Poisonous spiders found in the United States include:

  • Brown recluse spider;
  • Black widow spider;
  • Hobo spider;
  • Grass spider;
  • Mouse spider;
  • Black house spider;
  • Wolf spider.

Risk factors

What increases my risk for spider bite?

Anyone can be bitten by spider are very common. You’re at greater risk if you spend a lot of time outdoors, especially in rural or wooded locations. Children and older adults may have more severe reactions to bites.

Understand the diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is spider bite diagnosed?

Your doctor will likely do a physical examination of the wound. Many people are aware they’ve been bitten or stung because they witness it or see the insect shortly after the attack. Its identity may help your doctor to properly diagnose your symptoms. This is especially important for a spider bite, as some species have dangerously potent venom.

How is spider bite treated?

First aid for spider bite is as follow:

  • Cleaning the wound. Use mild soap and water and apply an antibiotic ointment.
  • Applying a cool compress. Use a cloth dampened with cold water or filled with ice. This helps reduce pain and swelling. If the bite is on an arm or leg, elevate it.
  • Using over-the-counter medications. Try a pain reliever, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others), or an antihistamine (Benadryl, Chlor-Trimeton, others).

Your doctor may recommend a tetanus booster shot if you haven’t had one in the last five years.

You may need antibiotics if the bite becomes infected.

There is no one treatment for all spider bites—it varies depending upon the type of spider and severity of the bite. Treatment involves looking at the present symptoms. If there are signs of tachycardia, cardiac drugs may be given. Other medications may also be given to treat necrosis (dead skin tissue).

Serious cases need medical evaluation. In some instances, patients might be closely monitored at the hospital while under observation.

In rare cases, surgery might be needed, especially when there is necrosis identified on the spider bite. Surgical evaluation is also necessary if the presenting symptoms are worsening.


Lifestyle changes & Home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage spider bite?

The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with spider bite:

  • Do not touch or massage the bitten area. If the spider was venomous, you should leave it alone in order to avoid spreading the venom.
  • The bite victim should not engage in any physical activities after being bitten.
  • Avoid heating pads. In the event that the spider emitted necrotic venom, the heat may facilitate assistance in the necrosis process.
  • Avoid steroid creams.
  • Sucking out the venom is not recommended.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


Review Date: April 17, 2017 | Last Modified: April 17, 2017

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