4 Common Characteristics of a Spider Bite

May 7th 2016

Seek medical attention if you receive a bite from a poisonous spider or if you begin to have an allergic reaction. Health care professionals can direct your course of care if you have a bite from a brown recluse or black widow.

Local Redness

After a spider bites you, the skin may turn red just like an ordinary insect bite. Nonpoisonous spiders typically leave a red mark on the area of the bite, and that redness does not spread very far beyond the bite. The bite of a brown recluse could turn blue or black after time passes. This occurs as the poison from the spider infects the wound and skin cells die. A brown recluse bite may develop redness or other colors several hours after the bite.


All spider bites cause swelling at the site. This means the spider bite could look like a small pimple or blemish as a raised, red spot on the skin. In the center of this raised welt, a small, pinpoint-sized dot may appear. Bites from poisonous spiders may include two small fang marks.


The bite may itch after the spider punctures the skin. Sometimes, people feel a tiny pinprick when the spider first makes contact, while other victims do not even notice the bite. Itching normally remains at the site of swollen redness, much like a typical insect bite. Itching might lead to irritation. Scratching the spider bite can cause it to openly bleed, in which case you must treat the wound much as you would a cut or scrape.


Pain at the site could lead to discomfort later. Bites from a brown recluse or black widow may start with a slight stinging sensation as the spider's mandible penetrates the skin. Pain from a brown recluse bite increases as the poison takes hold, usually up eight hours after the bite. Bites from harmless spiders generally have pain at the bite site, but that's it.

Common Treatments

Treatments of nonpoisonous spider bites include over-the-counter pain relievers for any localized pain, and cool packs to reduce swelling. Wet cloths also work to reduce swelling from the bite. Harmless spider bites usually go away seven to 10 days after the bite. Poisonous spider bites may require a doctor's care, especially if more drastic symptoms develop. Serious symptoms include an allergic reaction, sweating, difficulty breathing, abdominal pain or stiffness. In rare cases, these symptoms may lead to death.


Spider bites do not occur very often, and most spider bites come from harmless creatures. Two poisonous spider varieties, the black widow and the brown recluse, may cause more serious symptoms. Every spider bite has at least four characteristics in common, whether the bites originate from poisonous spiders or not.

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