Spider Bite

Spider bites are not common. Most spider bites do not cause serious problems. The elderly, very young children, and people with certain existing medical conditions are more likely to experience significant symptoms.

SYMPTOMS

Spider bites may not cause any pain at first. Within 1 or 2 days of the bite, there may be swelling, redness, and pain in the bite area. However, some spider bites can cause pain within the first hour.

TREATMENT

Your caregiver may prescribe antibiotic medicine if a bacterial infection develops in the bite. However, not all spider bites require antibiotics or prescription medicines.

HOME CARE INSTRUCTIONS

  • Do not scratch the bite area.

  • Keep the bite area clean and dry. Wash the area with soap and water as directed.

  • Put ice or cool compresses on the bite area.

  • Put ice in a plastic bag.

  • Place a towel between your skin and the bag.

  • Leave the ice on for 20 minutes, 4 times a day for the first 2 to 3 days, or as directed.

  • Keep the bite area elevated above the level of your heart. This helps reduce redness and swelling.

  • Only take over-the-counter or prescription medicines as directed by your caregiver.

  • If you are given antibiotics, take them as directed. Finish them even if you start to feel better.

You may need a tetanus shot if:

  • You cannot remember when you had your last tetanus shot.

  • You have never had a tetanus shot.

  • The injury broke your skin.

If you get a tetanus shot, your arm may swell, get red, and feel warm to the touch. This is common and not a problem. If you need a tetanus shot and you choose not to have one, there is a rare chance of getting tetanus. Sickness from tetanus can be serious.

SEEK MEDICAL CARE IF:

Your bite is not better after 3 days of treatment.

SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL CARE IF:

  • Your bite turns purple or develops increased swelling, pain, or redness.

  • You develop shortness of breath or chest pain.

  • You have muscle cramps or painful muscle spasms.

  • You develop abdominal pain, nausea, or vomiting.

  • You feel unusually tired or sleepy.

MAKE SURE YOU:

  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch your condition.

  • Will get help right away if you are not doing well or get worse.