Spider Bites – Identifying and Treating Bites from Common Spiders

October 7, 2013 | By More

Spider bites is one of the most scary bug bites that anyone can imagine. In fact, even bites from ants and mosquitos are often blamed on spiders. This is perhaps because spiders are scarier looking, hence, they got the reputation for inflicting spider bites on unsuspecting and sleeping humans. But how do we identify spider bites and distinguish it from other bug bites? How simple is identifying spider bites? And more, how do we differentiate between a dangerous bite from a spider versus a harmless one?

Spider Bites – Difference Between Common Bug Bites and Spider Bites

Unless you have seen a spider bite you, then it’s often a predicament to know what bug actually did, so it is pertinent to arm yourself with the information to differentiate spider bites from other bug bites, especially if you have woken up and find a bug bite mark on you. Below is a table of comparison between spider bites and the two other most common bug bite at home.

Spider Bite Versus Mosquito Bite and Bed Bug Bite Comparison

Spider Bite Mosquito Bite Bed Bug Bite
Appearance Appearance varies depending on the type of spider and how long ago the bite took place. Typically, spider bites have obvious puncture wound in larger spiders. For more information, see common spider bites table below. -Can appear red, pink, or reddish depending on skin color. Creates a raised bump in the skin. Appears very red and is small with raised surface. Welts can manifest within a day or up to 3 days later. The bites appear to be in rows.
Key Symptoms Itchiness and swelling.
Depending on the type of spider, spider bites can be fatal or non-fatal. For more information, see comparison table below. Very itchy, which can last for a few hours to a few days of itchiness in sensitive individuals
Very itchy and inflamed, which can last for 1-3 days after the bite itself.
Other Information Can be at any area of the body but usually are in the hands and arms, and feet and legs. Usually on uncovered areas of the skin like the legs, arms, face, and neck. Usually on uncovered areas of the skin like the legs, arms, face, and neck.
Need for Medical Attention Not needed unless the spider has an extremely potent venom (see table below). Examples are black widow and brown recluse bites. Not needed unless the mosquito’s bite caused mosquito borne diseases like
West Nile, Malaria, and Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever etc. Not needed.

Generally speaking, if a bug bite is too itchy and symptoms progress beyond plain itchiness, it can be a bite from a spider.

Spider Bites – Identifying Spider Bites by Common Spiders

There are over 40,000 types of spiders in existence today. Although nearly all of them have venoms, not all of them are harmful to humans, hence, it is important to know when spider bites are a cause of concern. Below is a table of the common spiders and how to distinguish their bites.

Spider Bites by Common Spiders Comparison Table

Appearance of Bite Key Symptoms Toxicity
Wolf Spider Fang marks or skin tear, particularly if the wolf spider is large. Can manifests both pain and swelling. If the bite is from a large wolf spider, the pain can be intense. Lymph nodes may swell as well as the body fights off the venom. Venomous non-fatal bite
Black Widow A red spot or a dot. Can sometimes be accompanied by fang marks. Intense pain which is immediate and cramps which can lasts for days (up to weeks in some cases). Fever can occur along with nausea, and can be very fatal for the very young and the elderly. Toxic bite which is potentially fatal. Seek medical attention as soon as bitten.
American House Spider Small raised lesions which can be reddened in appearance. A blister may or may not appear, but it will disappear in less than 2 days. A scab can form over the blistered area. Pain is said to be the type that feels like a burning sensation and accompanied with itchiness. Nausea and fever can also occur. Venomous non-fatal bite
Hobo Spider Can look like the bite from a brown recluse but the damage done is significantly less. Can cause muscle aches and pains together with numbness Toxic bite which is potentially fatal. Seek medical attention as soon as bitten.
Yellow Sac Spider A red mark on the stinging area of the skin. Can feel like a wasp sting in some cases. Venomous non-fatal bite
Brown Recluse Spider A bull’s eye appearance to the bite. The site looks like a red circle with a white inner ring and a red dot in the center. Oftentimes, there will be color changes in the area as well, with the skin reddening at first and then forming a darkened or black area days to weeks after the bite has taken place. Feels like a sting, the burning pain will be obvious a few hours after the bite has taken place. Pain can intensify. Toxic bite which is potentially fatal. Seek medical attention as soon as bitten.

After identifying what spider bite you have, you can move on to treating it.

spider bites symptoms

Spider Bites – Treating Bites from Spiders

Spider bites can be easily treated at home. It is only the deadly spiders like the black widow, the hobo, and the brown recluse spiders which are fatal and thus are medically significant. Once bitten by a spider, the following are the steps to take:

Treating Spider Bites:

1. It is best to elevate the area of the bite so the venom does not spread.
2. Be sure you know the table about identifying spider bites to know if it can be managed at home or not.
3. If the bite is from the 3 deadly spiders (black widow, the hobo, and the brown recluse), seek immediate medical attention).
4. If the bite is from other spiders, ice the area to minimize the spread of the venom.
5. You may use an antibiotic cream or cold water to cleanse the wound.
6. Assess the symptoms to further identify the spider which caused the bite.
7. If any difficulty of breathing occurs, or any unlisted symptoms manifests, seek medical attention immediately.

Spider Bites – Importance of Identifying Spider Bites

Spider bites can be fatal or be very medically significant in the cases of the black widow, the hobo, and the brown recluse spiders. Identifying spider bites is of utmost importance to know if you or your loved one should receive medical attention or can be treated at home. Identifying spider bites is also important to know what further intervention might be needed in the event of getting spider bites.

Category: Bites

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