How to Treat a Spider Bite

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Treat a Spider Bite
Treat a Spider Bite

How to Treat a Spider Bite. Most spider bites are uncomfortable but harmless. However, a few spiders, like the brown recluse and the black widow, can cause serious illness and damage to the tissues. Here are some guidelines to help you treat a spider bite if it happens to you.

Identify the spider, if it is possible to do so safely. Some spider bites require more extensive treatment, including antivenom. If you are able to identify the spider, it will be helpful in determining the appropriate treatment.

Wash the site of the spider bite with soap and water. Regardless of whether it is a harmless spider or a poisonous one, wash the area as soon as possible.

Care for a regular spider bite with cold compresses or ice. Use over the counter medication, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, for pain relief. Monitor for allergic reactions, rash, fever and signs of infection. If any of these occur, seek medical attention.

Treat a venomous spider bite by placing a tight bandage above the bite, if it is located on the arm or leg, making sure it does not cut off the circulation. You just want to slow down the spread of venom; you do not want to stop the blood flow to the extremity. If the bite is located on any other part of the body, cover it with a cold cloth until you can get to a medical facility.

Go to a medical facility immediately if you know the bite is from a venomous spider. Hospitalization is required for most of these types of bites.

Tips & Warnings

  • Do not give aspirin to children. Use ibuprofen or acetaminophen instead for pain and fever.

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