What Are The Symptoms Of A Poisonous Spider Bite?

What are symptoms of a poisonous spider bite?

If you’re bitten by a poisonous spider, you may have any of the following:

Insect stings and bites can cause severe allergic reactions, or anaphylaxis. Rarely, a spider bite can cause an allergic reaction called anaphylactic shock. It can be fatal.

  • Intense pain at the site of the wound
  • Stiffness or joint pain
  • Muscle spasms
  • Abdominal pain, nausea or vomiting
  • Fever or chills
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • A wound that spreads or turns into a sore (tissue around the wound might die)
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Convulsions

Reviewed by Neha Pathak on January 03, 2017

University of Arkansas Anthropod Museum.

California Poison Control and the University of California.

University of Arkansas Anthropod Museum.

California Poison Control and the University of California.

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Spider Bites (Common Poisonous) Pictures, Symptoms, Treatment

  • Medical Author: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

What should you know about spider bites?

Most spiders in the US are harmless. However, black widow and brown recluse spider bites are dangerous, and sometimes life threatening. Black widow and brown recluse spider bites need immediate medical treatment.

What are signs symptoms of spiders that aren’t poisonous?

Spider bites are actually rare occurrences, and most presumed people that have been bitten by spider are likely due to another condition that mimics the symptoms or signs of a spider bite. Bites from most (non-poisonous) spiders cause local redness, irritation, and pain that usually can be treated at home.

What are the symptoms and signs of black widow spider and black recluse spider bites?

Black widow spider bite symptoms are immediate pain, burning, redness, and swelling. Other signs and symptoms of a black widow spider bite are a feeling of a pinprick, and sometimes double fang marks on the person where the spider bit. Often, a person does not know that a black widow spider has bitten them.

Symptoms of a brown recluse spider bite are a mild sting followed by severe pain and local redness that usually develops within eight hours or more after the bite. Some brown recluse spider bites may include a purple or blue area around the bite, which is surrounded by a whitish ring and a large outer ring in a bull’s eye pattern. A fluid blister then forms at the spider bite site, and then sloughs off revealing a deep ulcer that may turn black. Other signs and symptoms of a black widow or brown recluse spider bite may include abdominal or joint pain, fever, nausea, and headache.

If you think that, you or someone you know has been bitten by a black widow or brown recluse spider, call 911 or go to the nearest Urgent Care or Emergency Department for treatment.

First Aid for Stings and Bug Bites

First Aid and Home Remedies for Bug Bites and Stings

Most bug bites and stings are harmless, but some can cause debilitating or life threatening diseases. First aid for a minor but bite or sting include:

  • Remove a bee sting using a credit card to scrape it in a side to side motion.
  • Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), acetaminophen (Tylenol and others), and topical analgesics to help relieve pain and itching.
See also:  What Type Of Spider Is This Uk?

Some people are highly allergic to some bug bites and stings, and they can cause a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. Some bugs can cause diseases like Lyme disease, which is caused by a tick bite.

What are the first signs and symptoms of spider bites that aren’t not poisonous?

  • Bites from most (non-poisonous) spiders cause local redness, irritation, and pain that usually can be treated at home using an over-the-counterpain reliever along with application of cooling packs or a wet cloth to relieve swelling.
  • These local reactions usually resolve without treatment over a period of 7-10 days. Rarely, an individual can have an allergic reaction to a spider bite, even to a bite from a non-poisonous spider, but allergic reactions are more likely to be due to contact with a spider than from a spider bite.

SLIDESHOW

What are the signs and symptoms of a black widow spider bites (pictures)?

  • A black widow spider bite is said to feel like a pinprick, although victims may not realize that they have been bitten.
  • Sometimes double fang marks may be seen at the location of the bite.
  • The most common localized symptoms of a black widow spider bite include
    • immediate pain,
    • burning,
    • swelling, and
    • redness around the bite.

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What are the signs and symptoms of a brown recluse spider bite (pictures)?

The bite of a brown recluse spider leads to a mild stinging, followed by local redness and severe pain that usually develops within eight hours but may occur later. Some reports of brown recluse bites describe a blue or purple area around the bite, surrounded by a whitish ring and large red outer ring in a «bull’s eye» pattern. A fluid-filled blister forms at the site and then sloughs off to reveal a deep ulcer that may turn black.

IMAGES

Can black widow or brown recluse spider bite symptoms be the same?

Generalized symptoms of bites from black widow and brown recluse spiders may include:

  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Abdominal pain
  • Joint pain or stiffness
  • Feelings of malaise
  • Rash
  • Muscle tension or cramping

Rarely, black widow spider bites are fatal; however, a few individuals have died from brown recluse spider bites, which are more common in children than in adults.

If a spider was not observed inflicting the bite, it is difficult if not impossible to determine whether a spider bite occurred, since many conditions of the skin may produce the same symptoms as a spider bite. Streptococcal and Staphylococcal infections, early lesions of herpes simplex or zoster, burns, stings or bites from other arthropods or insects (including fleas, bedbugs, mosquitos, biting flies, ants, and ticks), thorn injury, and early Lyme disease all may be characterized by skin findings similar to those from a spider bite.

Spiders rarely bite people, and only if threatened. People often thing they have spider bites when the irritation is from another cause.

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Are spider bites dangerous?

Most spiders do not have mouth parts strong enough to penetrate human skin, and the majority of spiders found in the U.S. and are actually harmless. There are two notable exceptions, the black widow spider and the brown recluse spider, which are both dangerous to humans. Spider bites are fortunately uncommon. In many cases, presumed spider bites are actually due to another skin condition or an insect sting.

The black widow and brown recluse spiders are more common in the southern states of the U.S. They prefer warm, dry climates and undisturbed areas such as basements, closets, woodpiles, attics, or under sinks. The black widow spider is a small, black, shiny spider with a red hourglass marking on its belly. The brown recluse spider is sometimes termed a «violin spider.» It is about an inch long and has a marking resembling a violin on the upper part of its back. Bites from both the black widow and brown recluse spiders are dangerous to humans and require prompt emergency medical care.

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What should you do if a spider bites you?

  • Wash the site of the spider bite well with soap and water.
  • Apply a cool compress or ice pack over the spider bite location.
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers may be used to relieve symptoms. (Remember, not to give aspirin to children; use acetaminophen or ibuprofen instead).
  • Call the doctor or seek emergency treatment if the victim is a young child, if you think the bite may have been from a black widow or brown recluse spider, if any signs of an allergic reaction occur, if the bite area becomes infected, or if the victim develops a rash or severe illness.
  • If possible, retrieve the spider and bring it with you to the health care practitioner so that it can be definitively identified.
  • A tetanus booster shot may be necessary, depending upon the date of the patient’s last immunization.

What should you do if a black widow or brown recluse spider bites you?

  • Wash the bite area with soap and water.
  • Elevate the area to prevent spread of the venom.
  • Tie a snug bandage above the area (if on an arm or leg) to further reduce spread of the venom, but do not make the bandage too tight that it impairs the blood circulation.
  • Always seek immediate emergency medical care. An anti-venom medication is sometimes given for black widow spider bites. Doctors’ use different types of medications to treat spider bites, including pain relievers, muscle relaxants, and/or corticosteroids. Sometimes hospitalization is required after black widow or brown recluse spider bites.
  • If possible, retrieve the spider and bring it with you to the health care practitioner so that it can be definitively identified.
  • A tetanus booster shot may be necessary, depending upon the date of the patient’s last immunization.
  • Calling the Poison Control Center (24-hour hotline at 1-800-222-1222 in the U.S.) allows you to reach toxicology experts who can work with a health care provider in establishing the proper diagnosis and management of a spider bite.
See also:  What Spider Has 6 Legs?

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Some causes of nausea and vomiting may be life threatening, for example, heart attack, abdominal obstruction, and cancers.

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Spider Bites: What You Need to Know

Are They Poisonous?

Spiders are blamed for all kinds of things that turn out to be skin infections or some other bug’s fault. Most don’t even have fangs long enough to break your skin. When they do bite, they’re typically harmless. In the U.S., only the black widow and brown recluse have venom strong enough to really hurt you. And their bites are rarely deadly to humans.

What Do Bites Look Like?

They’re pretty much just like an insect bite. For the most part, you can’t tellВ a spider bit you just from your symptoms. You’ll get a little bump on your skin. It might get red, itchy, and swell up a bit. It might hurt, but no more than a bee sting and usually not for more than an hour or so. That’s basically it — unless you’re bitten by a venomous spider.

Black Widows

This spider’s telltale sign is the red hourglass shape on the bottom of its big, round abdomen — the back part of the body. Black widows are shiny and black and about half an inch long. You can find them anywhere in North America, but mostly they’re in the southern and western areas in the U.S. They like quiet, out-of-the-way places like closets, sheds, garages, and woodpiles.

What’s a Black Widow Bite Like?

The bite feels like a pinprick, so you may not notice it. The first signs might be small, red marks with some swelling. Within an hour, it’ll hurt a little more, and the pain might spread to your back, belly, and chest. You might have stomach cramps, and your belly might feel a little stiff. You may also sweat a lot. In serious cases, you can have trouble breathing, along with a fast heart rate, nausea, and vomiting. The area around the bite may continue to get redder and more swollen.

Brown Recluse

People sometimes say to look for the small violin shape on the part of the body where the legs attach, but that’s easy to get wrong. Check the eyes instead. Most spiders have eight eyes in two rows of four. Here, look for six eyes: two in front, and two on each side. They live mostly in the southern Midwest and parts of the South. They like to stay indoors, tucked away deep in the stuff in your basement or attic.

What’s a Brown Recluse Bite Like?

You might feel a little sting at first, but it’ll hurt more over the next 8 hours. You also might see a small white blister that has a red ring around it, like a bullseye. Sometimes, the skin in the middle of the bite can turn blue or purple, and you may have an open sore that gets bigger for up to 10 days. It doesn’t happen often, but some people also have other symptoms like fever, chills, rash, and an upset stomach.

Tarantulas

Their big, hairy look is much worse than their bite. At least this is true for the ones in the U.S., where you find them mostly in the Southwest. Make no mistake, their bite hurts, sometimes for up to a week. It might also get red and warm, but that’s the worst of it. Some types of tarantulas can also flick fine barbed hairs from their belly at you. If these stick in your skin, they can cause itching, swelling, and irritation.

False Black Widow

These look a lot like black widows, but they don’t have the red hourglass. And their color ranges from purplish-brown to black. They like to cozy up in homes along the Atlantic, Gulf, and Pacific coasts. Pain from their bite can get worse in the first hour and you may get some blisters around it. It might make you feel generally sick with a headache or an upset stomach, but this will pass within a few days.

See also:  What To Do If You Find A Red Back Spider?

Hobo Spider

At one point, these were thought to be really dangerous, like the brown recluse. But the past 15 years of research says they’re mostly harmless. You won’t get much more than some redness and mild pain, and maybe some swelling. They’re found in the Pacific Northwest, usually in places like woodpiles and retaining walls. They often have a light stripe running down the middle of their bodies.В

What to Do

The first steps are the same for all spider bites, even those from a black widow or brown recluse. Clean the area with soap and water and put on some antibiotic cream. Then take a cloth and wet it with cold water or wrap it around some ice and put that on the bite. If you were bitten on your arm or leg, raise it up. You can take acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain and an antihistamine for swelling.

When to See a Doctor

Get checked out right away if you have symptoms beyond the bite, like serious pain in your belly, cramps, throwing up, or trouble breathing. You also should see your doctor if you have an open sore or a bullseye mark, or if the bite gets worse after 24 hours. Look out for things like pain around the bite getting worse, redness that’s spreading, and fluid coming from the bite. If you can do it safely, take the spider with you, even if it’s dead.

Treatment for Black Widow Bites

You may get prescription drugs to ease the pain and relax your muscles. There’s an antivenom for black widows, but it’s rarely used because some people have a serious reaction to it. And it’s almost never really needed. It’s saved for more serious bites in the very young, very old, or people who have other health issues.В

Treatment for Brown Recluse Bites

This is mostly about managing the wound so it doesn’t get infected. If you have a bump and redness, your doctor might recommend antihistamines or a cream to help with swelling and itchiness. For an open sore, you need to clean it daily and use antibiotic cream. From there, you should keep an eye on things, especially for symptoms beyond the bite, like fever or chills.

Allergic Reactions

It’s not very common, but just like with bee stings, some people are allergic to spider bites. Watch for swelling in your face or mouth, trouble talking or swallowing, tightness in your chest, or trouble breathing. If you feel any of these symptoms or see them in someone you’re with, get help right away.

How to Prevent a Spider Bite

If you’re poking around in woodpiles, sheds, attics, and other areas, wear long sleeves and a hat, and tuck your pants into your socks. Make sure to shake out work gloves, boots, and clothes you haven’t used in a while, because spiders can hide in them, too. And don’t keep rocks, lumber, or firewood near your house. Inside, don’t put your bed directly against the wall, and don’t store things under it.

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Mayo Clinic: “Spider Bites,” “Spider Bites: First Aid.”

PestWorld.org: “Spider Bites: Symptoms, Signs & Spider Bite Treatment.”

KidsHealth: “First Aid: Spider Bites.”

University of California Riverside: “Brown Recluse ID.”

National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health: “Venomous Spiders.”

Merck Manual, Professional Version: “Spider Bites.”

American Family Physician: “Common Spider Bites.”

Medscape: “Medically Significant Spider Bites: Keys to Diagnosis and Treatment.”

University of Florida Health: “Tarantula Spider Bite.”

Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences: “False Black Widow Spider.”

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia: “Spider Bites.”

Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian on August 05, 2019

This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

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