There are many varieties of spiders, and most spider bites are harmless except in those who experience an allergic reaction. Some species of spider, including the black widow and brown recluse, produce bites that result in severe symptoms and require immediate medical attention. To protect yourself from spider bites while outdoors, wear an insect repellent and protective clothing. If you have an insect or bite allergy, carry an emergency epinephrine kit.
Common Spider Bite Symptoms
An innocuous spider bite produces a bump on the skin. The bite may be red or inflamed and accompanied by pain or itching. A spider bite can cause these skin reactions immediately; however, a suffer may not notice them right away. Sufferers may see the bump on their skin or feel the itching as the first signs of bites.
Anaphylactic shock can occur if an individual is allergic to spider bites. Symptoms occur within minutes, and the condition requires immediate medical care. Chest pain, facial or mouth swelling and difficulty swallowing or breathing are all symptoms of anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis also may cause anxiety, confusion, lightheadedness, hives, nausea and slurred speech. Call 911 immediately if anaphylaxis occurs. Help the sufferer take his emergency medication if it is on hand, lie him flat with feet raised approximately 12 inches and cover him with a blanket to prevent shock.
Black Widow Bite Symptoms
Black widow bites can cause weakness, spasms and restlessness for weeks and even months after the bite occurs. The first signs include mild stinging when the bite first happens. Sufferers also may notice swelling around one or two small bite marks in the area where they were bitten. Within an hour, dull, numbing pain from the bite site to the abdomen and back will occur, along with severe cramping or stiffness in the abdominal muscles. Whole body symptoms can include generalized severe pain and nausea, dizziness, sweating, tremors, restlessness, fever, facial swelling and difficulty breathing. Pain usually lasts eight to 12 hours with other symptoms going away over the following few days.
Brown Recluse Bite Symptoms
Brown recluse spider bite symptoms mimic those of the Black widow. There may be no pain when the bite first occurs or there may be a mild burning or stinging sensation. Redness and swelling may occur around two small bite marks. The pain increases progressively within two to eight hours after the bite and can become severe. Nausea, vomiting, fever, body aches and a general sick feeling may follow over the next few days. The area where the spider bites often develops a dark ring around it, looking like the bull's eye of a target. A blood-filled blister may form at the bite location and then rupture, eventually forming an ulcer. The venom can cause severe tissue damage.