Do Spiders Bite? Identification & Treatment
By: Rita Stadler
Yes, many types of spiders do have the ability to bite humans. Many bites will cause minor irritation, but in some cases, they can lead to severe pain and reaction.
How many times have you noticed a red bump on your skin and assumed it was a spider bite without knowing where it came from?
Almost every home has these creepy-crawly pests. Most human-spider contact happens at home with a harmless house spider, but bites may not be as common as you think. However, they can happen. And bites from some types of venomous spiders can be dangerous because they have big enough fangs that can penetrate human skin. That’s why it’s important to learn how to identify a spider bite, the symptoms you should look for, and how to quickly treat them at home if medical attention is not needed.
How to Identify Common House Spider Bites
The most obvious signs of a spider bite include (but are not limited to) itching, swelling, or a raised, red bump at the bite area. The signs are often, if not severe, very similar to those of other insect bites or skin irritations. If you have noticed an abundance of these pests in your living environment, you might be quick to assume the cause of any skin irritation is caused by a spider.
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They are often blamed for mysterious red bumps or itchy spots on a person’s body, but they don’t bite people as often as you may think. When they do, it often goes unnoticed until after the fact. Identifying a bite from a spider is easiest if you see it happen. If you don’t see it happen, then it could very well be a bee sting, mosquito bite, or irritation caused by a different insect.
Knowing which common house spiders are dangerous will spare you from some stress and worry. If you spot one in your home and notice skin irritation, it’s possible you should get it checked out if you are experiencing aligning symptoms.
Spider Bite Symptoms to Watch For
Most spiders are harmless. However, there are some that can have dangerous bites. Black widow spider bites and brown recluse bites are the two most common dangerous types that could cause pain or more intense reactions. They have big enough fangs that can penetrate skin. They tend to hide in dark places like cupboards or garages filled with boxes, where people may not be expecting them. If you think you’ve been bitten, here are some symptoms to look for:
- Muscle pain or cramping
- Increased heart rate
- Difficulty breathing
Consult a physician if you believe you’ve been bitten by a dangerous spider, or are experiencing any of the symptoms above.
How to Treat
Please keep in mind that we are not medical experts. Links to medical resources are provided for more information, and these helpful tips have been made available for you to try based on your own assessment of your unique situation and medical needs.
If you are experiencing mild symptoms or skin irritation following a spider bite, there are many at-home treatments that may bring you relief. Start by washing the affected area with soap and water to prevent infection.
- Use ice or a cool compress to relieve inflammation
- If possible, elevate the area to reduce swelling
- Try an oral or topical antihistamine to combat itching
- If a blister appears, antibiotic ointment may help
If you’re looking for natural home remedies to help relieve bug bites, we have a resource that could help. You can use items such as basil leaves, peppermint, and cucumbers to help reduce the swelling and inflammation. If you’re looking to stop the constant itching, aloe vera can help and it’s good for your skin!
How Long Will a Bite Last?
A spider bite may go unnoticed at first, but eventually, the itchy red bump becomes hard to ignore. The sooner you treat a bite, the sooner it will disappear. Effects of a dangerous spider bite are typically noticed sooner and may last longer; discoloration around the bite mark may begin appearing within 15 minutes and healing can take up to 10 days for some people. Harmless spider bites will usually clear up in a few days. Avoid scratching as it may break the skin, increasing the risk of secondary infection, and taking longer to heal.
When to Worry About a Spider Bite and Seek Medical Attention
Although dangerous spider bites aren’t very common, they can happen. As mentioned above, the brown recluse and black widow spider are two dangerous species that you may encounter in the United States and North America.
If you are experiencing continued symptoms, worsened symptoms, or skin infection in the bite area, it’s a good idea to seek medical attention right away. If you believe you’re having some sort of allergic reaction to the bite, this is also a sign to visit a doctor. In these situations when you believe a dangerous bite has occurred, it’s best to get it checked out rather than waiting to see what happens. In rare cases, the reactions could be extremely severe.
Being proactive about preventing these pests from entering your home is a reliable way to help avoid this issue. Frequent cleaning to reduce clutter (the places they like to hide) and dusting to remove cobwebs is the first line of defense to help get rid of spiders. While some can be dangerous, most spiders are beneficial pests that help with other types of pest control and insect population control. Maintaining a pest-free home will lower the odds of getting bit inside your home.