This is the last installment of Dr. Jorge Parada’s article on spider bites written for PestWorld.
If you suspect a spider has bitten you, try to bring it with you to the doctor so they can determine the best course of treatment based on the species. Clean the site of the spider bite well with soap and water. Apply a cool compress over the spider bite location (using a cloth dampened with cold water or filled with ice). If you suspect the bite is form a black widow or brown recluse spider, and the bite is on an extremity, elevate it. Consider tying a snug bandage above the bite and elevate the limb to help slow or halt the venom’s spread. Ensure that the bandage is not so tight that it cuts off circulation in your arm or leg. Adults can take aspirin or acetaminophen and antihistamines to relieve minor signs and symptoms (but use caution when giving aspirin to children or teenagers). Seek medical attention for any severe signs and symptoms, or if signs and symptoms continue to worsen for more than 24 hours.
If a local reaction continues to get worse for more than 24 hours, it may be time to seek medical attention. Look for redness spreading away from the bite, drainage from the bite, increase in pain, numbness/tingling, or a discoloration around the bite that looks like a halo or bull’s-eye. If generalized symptoms set in, be concerned. In very rare cases, there have been reports of spider bites (by spiders considered otherwise harmless) causing allergic reactions – including anaphylactic shock, a life-threatening condition (much like may result from the sting of a bee, or wasp in a highly allergic person).