Dealing with spider bites

Most cases of spider bites could not be easily confirmed as being caused by spiders or as bites at all. It is important to note that there are two medically significant species of spiders – brown recluse spider and black widow spider.

The presence of skin boils from infections is often mistaken as spider bites, even when checked by doctors. In a study conducted on the outbreak of bites in military barracks, what was believed as spider bites where actually MRSA.


The usual local reactions to spider bites include swelling, redness, pain and itchiness.

Bites from venomous spiders

Almost all types of spiders are considered venomous. Many species are too small or the venom is not strong to be dangerous to humans. Some species of spiders are quite common and often held liable for most of the spider bites.

The black widow spider is often the most venomous species in the United States. Remember that any shiny black spider with a distinctive red mark can be considered part of the widow family. The brown widow is another type of widow species that has a weaker toxin and found worldwide.

The brown recluse spiders become known in the past years. Even though the spider bites are characterized by large-sized wounds, they are less likely to cause significant injury than the black widow spider. Skin infections can cause boils that are often wrongly diagnosed as brown recluse spider bites. The brown recluse spiders are only found in the southeast part of the United States and characterized by the violin-shaped mark on the back part of their midsection. Other countries also have their share of venomous spiders. The red black spider, funnel web spider and white tail spider are found in Australia.

Symptoms of spider bites

Finding out if an individual sustained a spider bite can be difficult. Based on studies conducted on brown recluse spiders, victims usually seek treatment after more than 3 days after being bitten, thus it is impossible to determine the culprit. As for black widow spider bites, they are often identified only by symptoms of its venom, without any evident local bite.

The usual local reactions to spider bites include swelling, redness, pain and itchiness. If the local reaction worsens for more than 24 hours, it is an issue to worry about. Check for redness that spreads away from the spider bite as well as increasing pain, drainage from the bite, tingling or numbness as well as discoloration around the bite site.

What is anaphylaxis?

Anaphylaxis is the biggest issue when it comes to insect bites including spider bites. If the individual shows any indications of an allergic reaction or anaphylaxis right after a bite, call for emergency assistance.

  • Shortness of breath
  • Hives
  • Weakness
  • Wheezing

Victims must seek medical care if the symptoms involve parts of the body away from the bite site. When it comes to black widow spiders, they have toxin that affects nerve function and muscle contraction. Severe cases of brown recluse spider bites can lead to a systemic reaction. You have to watch out for the following symptoms:

  • Chills
  • Sweating
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Body aches
  • Rapid pulse rate
  • Leg cramping
  • Exhaustion

Once the individual feels extremely weak or tired, you have to call for emergency assistance right away.


2 Responses to “Dealing with spider bites”

  1. Lesley Smith September 2, 2016 at 6:59 am #

    Good page, however it still doesn’t say there are any non-prescription preparations recommended, or if hot or cold compression is recommended.
    I was bit by a nasty little spider two days ago at St.Vital Cemetery, Winnipeg. Indeed I killed the little critter, so I know it was a spider bite. It started as a pair of itchy dots.
    The area has grown in redness, itchiness, pain, and oozing. I’m seeking a dr today.

  2. Susan November 5, 2016 at 1:11 pm #

    In 2010 I was bit by a spider in my garden in Winnipeg It was on my hand and I felt a tingle, brushed off the spider. Two red dots appeared, redness expanded, pain, and a small ulcer lesion formed. As a precaution my doctor gave me antibiotics. Eventually it healed and I’m left with a small scar. I recall the spider was brown which doesn’t help in identifying it.

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