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Spider bites: First aid/Conditions/Prevention

Spider bites: First aid

 Spider bites: First aid

Bites from a few spider species are not usually dangerous. But bites from some spider species can be very dangerous.


Seek medical care immediately if:

  • You may have been bitten by a spider that is dangerous, such as a black widow or a brown recluse.
  • You're not sure if the bite was from a dangerous spider.
  • If you experience severe abdominal pain or a growing wound at the bite site, it means that you were bitten by a venomous snake.
  • You might be having problems breathing or swallowing.
  • The area of the sore has a redness or streaks that are spreading.

If you get bitten by a spider, here is what you should do:

  • Clean the wound with mild soap and water. Apply an antibiotic ointment to it three times a day to prevent infection.
  • Apply a cold compress to the bite every hour for fifteen minutes. Use a clean cloth to wet it and then put it on the bite to reduce pain and swelling.
  • If possible, raise the affected area.
  • If you experience pain, take an over-the-counter pain reliever as needed.
  • If the wound is itchy, an antihistamine such as Benadryl or Zyrtec might help.

If your doctor prescribes pain medicine or muscle relaxants to you for pain and muscle spasms, you may also need a tetanus shot.

Black widow spiders

The black widow spider is usually marked with a red hourglass on its belly. This spider is more common in the south of the United States, and it is also found in Europe.

The symptoms of a black widow spider bite can include: pain, swelling, redness, itchiness, and a rash.

  • Redness, pain and swelling
  • Cramps or stiffness in the stomach area
  • Nausea, vomiting, tremors or sweating

Brown recluse spider

The brown recluse spider has a distinctive violin-shaped marking on its back. However, this marking can be difficult to see. This spider is commonly found in the southern United States and in South America, where it is known as the brown spider.

Some signs and symptoms of a brown recluse spider bite may include:

  • At first, a mild pain
  • Fever, chills and body aches
  • If you get a bite that is deep blue or purple, and around the bite there may be a red ring, that means you are sick.
Spider bites: First aid/Conditions/Prevention

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