5 Ways to Treat Spider Bites at Home

May 7th 2016

Spider bites usually dissipate on their own after seven to 10 days. Seek the advice of a doctor if the bite worsens, changes color or more serious symptoms develop. More serious symptoms include severe pain, abdominal cramps or a growing ulcer at the bite site.

Wash the Bite

Clean the spider bite with mild soap and water. Mild soap includes most hand soaps, dishwashing detergent or body wash. Clean the area around the spider bite as well. Observe the wound for any changes over time.

Apply Cold

Apply a cold pack to the spider bite for up to 20 minutes per hour for six hours to reduce any swelling. If using an ice pack or anything frozen, keep a layer of cloth between the direct cold and the bite. Whenever the bite does not have any ice on it during the six-hour time period, cover it with a wet cloth. Do not apply ice for more than 20 minutes at a time and do not fall asleep with ice on your skin. Cold reduces pain and swelling. After six hours, apply warmth for comfort and to ease any nerves.

Elevate the Wound

If the bite happens to be on an arm or leg, elevate the area to reduce swelling. If the bite is on an arm, raise the limb above your head. If the bite is on a leg, lay down and prop the leg up with a pillow so the leg angles down towards the abdomen. Elevating a limb reduces blood flow to the bite, thereby limiting any swelling.

Nonprescription Drugs

Several nonprescription, over-the-counter medicines may alleviate itching, redness and swelling caused by the bite. Oral antihistamines, such as those for allergies or cold, could alleviate the basic symptoms of a spider bite. Local anesthetic sprays that contain benzocaine may help relieve pain. If your skin has an allergic reaction to the anesthetic, discontinue use. A 1 percent cream of hydrocortisone or calamine lotion, applied directly to the bite, could reduce itching and swelling.

Pain Relievers

Nonprescription pain relievers could also help ease pain associated with a spider bite. Aspirin, acetaminophen, naproxen and ibuprofen represent the most common kinds of drugs for this purpose. Take these pain relievers according to the label's directions and your doctor's instructions.


Most spider bites on humans remain small, harmless bumps that turn red and raise above the skin. Other symptoms include itching, burning and pain, all of which stay localized at the site of the spider bite. Even bites from poisonous spiders, such as black widows and brown recluses, may remain minor. Use these five home treatment methods for spider bites to alleviate any symptoms.

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