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Learn about your spider bite, including causes, treatment options and remedies. Or get a personalized analysis of your spider bite from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

Spider Bite Checker

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Your Spider Bite May Also be Known as:
Bit by a spider
By a spider
Spider sting
Stung by a spider

Spider Bite Symptoms

Even the mere sight of a spider makes some people scream, and the idea of a spider bite can be even more disturbing. From black widows to brown recluses, there's a lot of folklore about these eight-legged bugs. While it's true that some can be dangerous, most are harmless to humans. So, those with a fear of spiders (arachnophobia) can breathe a sigh of relief.

The types of spiders to which you might be exposed depend on where you live. Local doctors should be aware of the surrounding habitat and risks specific to your area. ### Spider bites usually result in a red welt in the affected area but may also cause: ###

Spider Bite Causes Overview

Spiders often lurk in cold, dark places like a basement room or the back of a closet. They also like to hide in shoes or gloves left lying around the house. Spider bites typically occur after an accidental encounter. It's also important to remember that many bites and rashes that we think are spider bites actually come from something else. Most patients who report spider bites do not actually find a spider.

The danger of spider bites comes from these main factors:

  • Skin puncture
  • Injection of venom

Skin Puncture

Spiders attempt to use their sharp fangs at the front of their bodies to pierce the skin of their victims. The good news is that most spiders' fangs are not sharp enough to pierce healthy human skin, and even spiders that can bite would rather run away first.

Those spiders that manage to bite may cause:

  • Local reaction: Spider bite reactions vary widely, but they often cause a circular area of redness perhaps with a raised area in the middle. The bites may or may not be painful. Some experience stinging or burning after exposure. Fang marks are rarely seen.
  • Necrotic reaction: A dangerous – and rare – reaction is when a spider bite causes death of the surrounding tissue. Over days to weeks, the original bite may turn dark red or blue before becoming an ulcer. The wound usually grows to be larger than the area of the original bite.

Injection of Venom

Only a small number of spiders make venom that is dangerous to humans. These include the widow-type and recluse spiders in the United States. Venom is responsible for skin damage at the bite site and may also cause systemic symptoms, ranging from minor issues that are more common to serious, life-threatening concerns. Systemic symptoms become more likely and may increase in severity as higher amounts of venom enter the bloodstream.

Rare but serious reactions to venom include:

  • Kidney failure
  • Problems with blood clotting
  • Destruction of blood cells

Spider Bite Mimics

While our first reaction to a new itch or bump may be to fear a spider bite, there are many other causes of similar skin problems that you and your doctor should consider, including:

  • Skin infections: Bacteria can enter the skin and cause pain and swelling that looks like a spider bite.
  • Plant thorns: Many people attribute injuries during gardening or outdoor activities to spiders when, in fact, a plant's sharp thorn could be to blame.
  • Insect bites: Something as common a mosquito bite or bee sting can be mistaken for a spider bite.

Top 2 Spider Bite Causes

  1. 1.Uncomplicated Spider Bite

    The vast majority of spider bites are not dangerous and do not require any special treatment or medication.

    You should wash the affected area with soap and water. To treat swelling and redness, elevate the affected area and apply ice for 5-10 minutes. You can also take a painkiller to help manage the pain from your spider bite.

    Top Symptoms:
    spider bite, skin changes from a bug bite, red-colored skin changes
    Symptoms that always occur with uncomplicated spider bite:
    spider bite
    Symptoms that never occur with uncomplicated spider bite:
    shortness of breath, episodes of face turning red, fever, severe pain around the spider bite, ulcerated spider bite, bite by a black widow spider, brown recluse spider bite

    Spider Bite Checker

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  2. 2.Spider Bite Requiring Medical Attention

    Some spiders can be very dangerous. Even for the less dangerous ones, some people have serious reactions. If the symptoms of these reactions go untreated, it can be life-threatening.

    Go to the emergency room.

    Top Symptoms:
    nausea, abdominal pain (stomach ache), fever, vomiting, muscle aches
    Symptoms that always occur with spider bite requiring medical attention:
    spider bite
    Hospital emergency room

Spider Bite Treatments and Relief

After noticing an unusual red lump or bump, the first step is determining whether, in fact, you have a spider bite. There are many conditions that mimic spider bites, and unless you capture the spider in the act, it's hard to know for sure.

Is this a spider bite?

  • Number: People are usually bitten only one time by a spider. If you notice multiple lesions on your skin, it's likely something else is at fault.
  • Household members: Spider bites usually impact only one member of a family or household. If others around you have the same problem, look for a different cause.
  • History: What were you doing in the past few days? Think about whether you might have been exposed to mosquitos or to irritating plants like poison ivy.

If you suspect a spider bite, most people can manage the problem at home unless the spider bite symptoms become especially severe or persist for a long period of time.

At- home spider bite treatments:

  • Wash: Clean the area thoroughly with a mild soap and warm water. Apply antibiotic ointment to prevent infection.
  • Ice: Cold will help ease pain, itching or burning and also makes the swelling go down.
  • Over - the-counter medications: Painkillers like Tylenol or ibuprofen effectively reduce pain caused by spider bite symptoms.
  • Take a photo: If you find a spider, keep a safe distance but take a digital photograph in case you seek professional medical help later. It can help experts determine your spider bite treatment.

Professional treatment is only necessary if you experience a severe reaction to a spider bite.

You should seek help without delay if you have:

  • Reason to believe you were bitten by a dangerous spider (such as a widow spider or brown recluse)
  • Severe pain
  • Muscle rigidity
  • Trouble breathing
  • Spreading redness
  • Bad skin damage that is purple or ulcerating

FAQs About Spider Bite

Here are some frequently asked questions about spider bite.

Will a spider bite bleed?

Yes, a spider bite or any break in the skin is capable of bleeding. It depends however, on the size of the spider (or more specifically the size of its jaws) as that would determine the size of the skin puncture and the ability of the body to clot the blood.

Will a spider bite pop like a pimple?

A pimple is a infection of the skin. A spider bite may actually cause a pimple to form as bacteria from the spider or your skin may invade the puncture wound of a small bite and cause an infection. So yes, a spider bite can pop "like a pimple."

Can spider bites make you sick?

Yes, spider bites can make you very sick. Depending on the type of spider, bites can even be fatal. Most spider bites are so small or non-toxic that they go unnoticed, but if after a spider bite (or any bug bite) you begin to experience dizziness, lightheadedness, numbness of any extremity, difficulty breathing, or tongue swelling then you should find help and go to the nearest emergency room.

How long does it take for spider bite symptoms to show?

This depends on the type of spider. Bites from brown recluse spiders may exhibit the full extent of pain within two to eight hours, but the evidence of the bite (two small holes) may be notable immediately. Some symptoms may never show up. Necrosis, or dying of tissue, following brown recluse spider bites only affects 10 percent of bite victims.

Are spider bites itchy?

They can be itchy, numb, or they can be extremely painful. Itchiness can be a sign of immune system activation and recognition of spider bite, and can occur as part of the initial stages of the healing process. So in that sense, during healing any spider bite can become itchy. The same, however, is true of most cuts or breaks in the skin. As a trait, no spider bites cannot be identified by how itchy they are.

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Spider Bite

  • Q.Any fever today or during the last week?
  • Q.Do you have a rash?
  • Q.Is your face flushed, like in this picture?
  • Q.Do your symptoms worsen when it's hot outside?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, check our spider bite symptom checker.

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Spider Bite Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced spider bite have also experienced:

    • 6% Dizziness
    • 4% Fatigue
    • 4% Swollen Lower Leg
  • People who have experienced spider bite were most often matched with:

    • 32% Uncomplicated Spider Bite
    • 9% Spider Bite Requiring Medical Attention
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

Spider Bite Checker

Take a quiz to find out why you’re having spider bite.

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