Spider bites can be confused with other red, painful, or swollen skin sores. Many skin sores thought to be caused by spider bites are caused by bites from other bugs such as ants, fleas, mites, mosquitoes, and biting flies. Spider bites can be confused with skin infections, other skin conditions, and even burns.
Based on your history and symptoms, your doctor will most likely diagnose a spider bite. Determine whether anyone saw a spider bite you, have an expert identify the spider, and rule out any other possible causes of the signs and symptoms.
Identification of the Black Widow
The female black widow spider Display a pop-up dialog box
Some characteristics of black widow spiders include:
• A gleaming black body with long legs
• The stomach has a red hourglass shape.
• Total body length (including legs)
• approximately 1 inch (2.5 cm) across
Identification of the Brown Recluse
Spider, brown recluse Display a pop-up dialog box
Some characteristics of brown recluse spiders include:
• The body is golden or dark brown, with long legs.
• On top of the leg attachment segment is a dark violin shape.
• Six eyes — two in front and two on either side — rather than the standard spider pattern of eight eyes in two rows of four.
• The central body measures approximately 1/2 inch (1.2 cm) across.
It takes about a week for a spider bite to heal on its own. In some cases, a recluse spider bite can cause a scar to form and can take longer to heal.
If a spider bites you, take these first aid measures:
• Use water and mild soap to wash the wound. The use of an antibiotic ointment applied thrice daily can aid in the prevention of infection.
• For 15 minutes, every hour, apply a cold compress to the bite. Make use of a clean cloth infused with water or ice.
• The pain and swelling are lessened by this method.
• Keep the injured part of the body at a high level.
• If you’re experiencing any discomfort, you can get some relief from an over-the-counter medication.
• An antihistamine, like diphenhydramine (Benadryl) or cetirizine (Zyrtec), may relieve itching caused by the condition.
• Keep an eye out for any signs of infection or worsening of the bite. If the bite opens up and gets infected, antibiotics will likely be necessary.
• Your doctor may recommend pain relievers, muscle relaxants, or both to treat your pain and muscle spasms. A tetanus shot might be necessary as well.
Spider bite antidote
If your doctor determines that the pain and other symptoms from a black widow bite are too great to bear, he or she may prescribe antivenom, which is administered intravenously (intravenously). After receiving the antivenin, most patients feel better within 30 minutes. Antivenom should be used with caution due to the risk of severe allergic reactions.
Getting ready for your appointment
If you believe you have been bitten by a dangerous spider, contact your primary care physician or go to an urgent care center. If your doctor offers online services, you could email a photo of the spider to him or her.
What you can do
To assist your doctor in understanding your symptoms and how they may be related to a spider bite, provide the following information:
√ If you can do so safely, bring the spider or a photo of the spider with you.
√ Make a list of any symptoms you’re experiencing.
√ Make a list of questions to ask your doctor.
Some basic questions to consider include:
• Is this a potentially dangerous spider bite?
• What are the other possible causes of my symptoms if it isn’t a spider bite?
• Do I need to take any tests?
• What is the duration of my symptoms?
• What is the most prudent course of action?
What to anticipate from your doctor
Your doctor will most likely ask you a series of questions. Being prepared to respond to them may free up time to go over any points you want to spend more time on. Your doctor may inquire:
√ When did you first notice symptoms?
√ What were you doing in the hours preceding the onset of your symptoms?
√ Have your symptoms worsened?
√ Is there anything that helps or worsens your symptoms?