How to Treat Spider Bites

It's Sometimes Necessary To Seek Medical Help For Treating Spider Bites

How to Treat Spider Bites

I’m going to shock you by saying this I know, but there are actually few people bitten by spiders. However, the spiders which do bite us have serious consequences. This means knowing how to treat spider bites is important.

According to the Arthropod Society (yes, there is such a thing), most of the bites we claim to be spider bites are misdiagnosed. Since spiders feed on other bugs and their mouths are so tiny, they don’t really bother with us. UNLESS … we threaten them.

How would we do that? Well, let me give you a couple of personal experiences.

The picture of the black widow spider in this post is from our garden. A garden is the perfect place for these dangerous females to hide. We find them under large squash like pumpkins and upper ground sweet potatoes and under the mulch around other plants. This one was under the mulch around the bell peppers.

I often uncover these spiders in the garden. I’ve learned to watch out for them like I would a snake. I know how to treat spider bites, I just don’t want to have it to do. Working in the outdoors means you encounter all kinds of creepy, crawly critters, many of which do bite or sting. I have several home remedies for bug bites on standby.

This is just another reason we like to turn the chickens loose in the garden after harvest. They’ll eat up the little femme fatales. If you have guineas, you’ll probably not see many, if any, spiders. It’s just one of the perks.

When we put our hands into their home or uncover their hiding spot, they think we’re attacking them and they strike! They don’t always get us but when they do, knowing how to treat spider bites is necessary.

Australia has the largest population of venomous spiders in the world. This year they had their first confirmed death from a spider bite since 1981. I know these things because my youngest son is leaving Japan in December and moving to Australia. A mother has to know these things!

There are mainly two types of spiders here in the U.S. which cause us harm when they bite us. I’m sure you know what they are but I’ll share them anyway, the black widow and the brown recluse. I don’t know anyone personally who has been bitten by a black widow, but I know three people who have been bitten by a brown recluse. Oddly, they all three live in central Mississippi.


How to Treat Spider Bites

According to the Arthropod Society, many skin ailments are misdiagnosed as spider bites by physicians and patients alike. Oddly, when it’s a true spider bite people often wait until the damage has begun before treating the bite or seeking medical assistance.

If you think you’ve been bitten by a spider, try to see if you can capture or kill it for identification. It’s important to know what kind of spider it is to know if it’s poisonous or not. If it doesn’t require medical attention, there are a few general guidelines for how to treat spider bites.

For General Spider Bites

If you know the spider that bit you isn’t poisonous, then how to treat spider bites which aren’t life threatening applies.

  1. Apply ice or an ice pack to the area to help shrink swelling and decrease pain.
  2. Make a paste of three parts baking soda to one part water and apply to the bite area.
  3. Clean the area with hydrogen peroxide.
  4. Apply basil oil diluted in a carrier oil, such as almond oil, to the bite. You can also rub crushed basil directly on the spot.

Baking soda is good for a great many things. Many people use it as a natural treatment for gas or bloating. We use it for making our own baking soda toothpaste recipe.

For Black Widow Bites

The black widow spider is found throughout the U.S. She has a cousin who is a faker. Her red spot is on the back and isn’t hourglass shaped. If you are bitten, try to capture the spider for identification or get a good look at it before you squish it.

The venom of the black widow spider is akin to that of the scorpion. The most important thing you can do with any venomous bite is to remain as calm as possible. Any increase in physical activity like running will increase the heart rate which will speed the spread of the venom throughout the body.

  1.  Remain calm as we just said.
  2.  Ice the bite area. If the bite is on the arm or leg, put ice on the whole appendage.
  3.  Avoid as much physical exertion as possible. Just get to the car and to the doctor.
  4.  If the vehicle is a long distance away, bring the vehicle to the person who was bitten or call for an ambulance.
  5.  DON’T apply heat, any alcohol based cleanser or any creams to the area. Rubbing in a cream increases circulation and you don’t want to do that.
  6.  Cleanse the wound with hydrogen peroxide if it needs to be cleaned. Don’t even pat dry, just pour it over the area and let it air dry.
  7.  Get the person to the doctor as quickly as possible because there is an antivenin for the black widow spider. If you’re allergic to antivenin, as many people are, the doctor can still help by curbing the effects on the tissue and surrounding areas of the bite.

For Brown Recluse Bites

Photo Credit

This spider is at home across most of the Southern United States and much of the southwest. I have personally seen the effects of this bite on three different people. They each had to have their wounds debrided and lost tissue to the necrosis that a brown recluse spider bite causes.

There are many charcoal uses in the home remedies cabinet. Activated charcoal is well known for its ability to neutralize hundreds of poisons from snake bites to spider bites. Putting a charcoal poultice on a brown recluse spider bite is effective in neutralizing the toxins. Apply the poultice as soon as you can after the bite. Change the compress every 30 minutes for the first eight hours. After that change it every two hours for the next 24 hours. Then you can change it every four to six hours until the area is healed.

There is no antivenin for the brown recluse spider venom. When they bite, the tissue begins to die immediately. If you think you’ve been bitten by one of these, get to the doctor. He can’t stop the venom but he can keep you alive and possibly decrease the effects while your body deals with it.

If you live in an area where these spiders are known to be, be watchful when you’re outside working. When you turn over leaves or rocks take a look before putting your hand in. If the brown recluse is known to be in your area, be careful to fold your covers back and take a look before climbing into bed.

Two the people I know who were bitten, were bitten when they climbed into bed. The spider felt threatened and bit them. I know they say they don’t have it out for us, but man! Ya gotta wonder sometimes.

Do you know someone who has been bitten by a spider? Did they know how to treat spider bites? Share your stories or home remedies for how to treat spider bites with us.

Share your stories or home remedies for how to treat spider bites with us.

Safe and Happy Journey,

Rhonda and The Pack



2 thoughts on “How to Treat Spider Bites”
  1. Thanks for this! I’ve got a question. My son has a very bad infected spider bite. He’s 21, so, of course, he didn’t take it seriously when he got bitten until it became very painful and red. We think it was a brown recluse. He was on 2 antibiotics for 10 days and just started another today. It’s been almost 2 weeks since the bite occurred. Can activated charcoal still help or is it too late? He was sent to the ER yesterday and the doctor said wash it with soap and water and keep it covered changing the dressing twice a day. I don’t want to make it worse, but I feel that there is probably still venom in his bite which is why it’s not healing.

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