How Worried Should I Be If I've Been Bitten By a Spider?

Spider bites are no joke. They hurt a lot when they happen, and if a black widow, brown recluse or hobo spider bites you, they can cause serious health issues.

In most cases, though, spider bites are actually quite harmless. Read on to learn more from our AFC Urgent Care Gastonia team!

Are Most Spiders Dangerous?

They actually aren’t. According to studies, there are around 3,000 different types of spiders in the United States, and the majority of them aren’t dangerous. In fact, most of them are too small and and their fangs too weak to puncture human skin.

Unless a spider is one of the dangerous three that we named earlier, their bites will likely only leave a red, itchy bite mark that will go away in about a week. If you believe you’ve been bitten by a spider, we’ve listed some ways you can treat the bite at home below.

Ways to Treat Spider Bites at Home

  • Clean the bite area with warm water and soap.
  • Apply a cold, damp washcloth or an ice pack to the bite area.
  • Elevate the bite area.
  • Take an antihistamine (allergy medicine) to ease itching and swelling.
  • Take an over-the-counter pain reliever for pain and swelling.

How Will I Know If I’ve Been Bitten By a Dangerous Spider?

Although black widow, brown recluse and hobo spiders all can cause serious complications, their symptoms aren’t the same. With a black widow bite, you’ll feel pain immediately and your skin’s reaction will be sudden. You’ll also see two puncture marks.

With a brown recluse bite, you likely won’t feel it at first. The bite will then start to show symptoms like redness, pain and swelling around eight hours later, followed by a red or purple ring resembling a target or bull’s-eye that develops around the bite. Lastly, hobo spiders, which aren’t very common in the South, cause pain and numbness within 15 minutes of their bites.

Emergency Spider Bite Symptoms

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Heart palpitations, a racing pulse or other heart problems
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Severe muscle pain, cramps, weakness or paralysis
  • Signs of infection, such as fever or yellow discharge from the bite area
  • Vision problems or severe headache

Dealing with a spider bite and feeling worried? Don’t hesitate to reach out to our AFC team today—we can help!