When to Worry About a Spider Bite

May 7th 2016

Use common sense when it comes to dealing with spiders and possible spider bites. Although bites are rare, do not tempt fate by playing with a wild spider. Consult with a doctor if the bite seems to worsen either quickly or over a course of time.

Normal Bites

Normal spider bites generally do not merit much concern. Helpful steps to treating these bites include washing the bite, reducing swelling with a cold wrap and putting anti-itch cream on the wound. Watch the bite for any changes over time.

Dangerous Spiders

Two poisonous spiders in America may cause problems for people. Bites from black widow spiders could lead to more serious symptoms such as pain spreading to other parts of the body, abdominal cramping, fever, nausea and excessive sweating. Victims may feel pain from brown recluse spider bites within eight hours, and the bite area may grow to be an ulcer that turns black or blue. Black widow spiders look completely black, except for a red hourglass on the creature's stomach. Brown recluse spiders have a violin-shaped pattern around the neck and a hairless, brown body. If either of these spiders bite you, seek medical treatment immediately to prevent any problems.

Allergic Reactions

If you have an allergic reaction to a spider bite, no matter which species has bitten you, call a physician or emergency room. Symptoms of an allergy include hives, a fast, yet weak pulse, difficulty swallowing, facial swelling or difficulty breathing. A severe allergic reaction could lead to anaphylaxis, a life-threatening condition wherein the entire body reacts to the allergens prevalent in spiders or spider venom.

Bite Worsens

If you notice that the bite worsens within 24 hours, call your doctor's office for advice. Watch to see if the red area grows larger than 1 inch across, or notice if your pain worsens even after taking pain medication. Redness may get larger or expand around the initial bite. You may not notice these gradual symptoms at first, so keep watching the bite for any signs of expansion or worsening condition.

Keep an Eye Out

Pay particular attention to the elderly or young children, the two demographics most susceptible to spider bites. Further, try not to disturb fallen woodpiles, rocks or fallen trees and logs in the wild. Keep outdoor spaces, such as garages and storage sheds, clean and free of debris.


Most spider bites do not affect humans whatsoever, and those that do typically look like an insect bite. This means that the bite looks similar to a small, raised bump on the skin. This bump may itch, swell or be painful at the site of the bite. You may have to worry about a spider bite under a few special circumstances.

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