Spider bites have become very common in today’s world. They have become common due to an increase in the number of spiders around the globe. Among all the other insect bites spider bites are more common. The scientific name of spider bite is “arachnidism.” It is basically an injury caused by a bite from a spider. Most spider bites are not very dangerous for humans. They lead to only mild symptoms. These mild symptoms are visible in the area where the bite occurs not on the entire body. Some spider bites cause a severe pain or lead to having necrotic skin. On the other hand, there are some spiders whose bites are very insignificant. So they cause no harm to the human body. An alarming spider bite is the one which produces a sufficient amount of envenomation. Various kinds of spiders produce different kinds and amounts of venom. Thus, they leave different symptoms on the human body. The Widow Spider bites produces neurotoxic venom. This venom injected into the human body through the bite causes a skin condition, known as latrodectism. The bite causes some immediate symptoms. These include a pain at the time of the bite, which may involve pain in the chest and abdomen, sweating, muscle cramps and vomiting. In addition to this, Recluse Spiders bites lead to a condition of loxoscelism. In this condition, there is local necrosis in the skin and may cause breakdown of red blood cells. Immediate symptoms from this spider bite include headaches, mild fever, and vomiting. Australian funnel web spiders and South American wandering spiders’ bites are also common.
Some of the steps to prevent these spider bites area as follows. These steps may include removing all the clutter and waste and regularly using pesticides. In addition to this, some spider bites have support by NSAIDs to treat for pain and antihistamines to avoid itchiness. In situations of severe pain, opioids are also used. Anti-venoms of spider bites help treat Funnel web Spider bites. They improve the situation instantly. The anti-venom for black spiders has anaphylaxis. Due to .presence of anaphylaxis in anti-venoms the USA bans its usage. People may have to go through surgeries under severe cases of spider bites. The damaged skin area from some recluse bites requires a surgery for the treatment.
Some years of research show that people fail to properly diagnose spider bites. At times, people have misdiagnosed or over diagnosed spider bites. Moreover, over the years, several conditions have been associated with spider bites historically. A unique condition was associated with spider bites in the Middle Ages known as tarantism. In this condition, people began dancing wildly. The state of necrosis condition has been associated with bites from several spiders. But good evidence shows its association with recluse spiders only. Spider bites have become very common. So it is good to have a good knowledge of spider bite types, spider bites symptoms.
It is difficult to accurately estimate the total number of spider bites occurred since the world has come into being. One cannot observe all spider bites at the time of biting. So it is difficult to know whether a spider or any other insect bites you. Also after the bites, it is difficult to observe sole spider bites. Estimating an exact number of spider bites is very difficult. Across the globe, several spiders are present. All these spiders at anytime did bite humans. Button spiders and six-eyed spiders reside in Africa. Their bite causes skin necrosis. While Redbacks Spiders and Funnel Web spiders reside in Australia. Anti-venoms help treat humans bitten by these Australian spiders. But the use of anti-venom has been declining due to its side effects. In Europe, South, and North America several spider bites took place. Brown Recluse spiders and Black Widows spiders live in North America. Thus, any estimate of the total number of spider bites is precisely inaccurate.
Spider bites have been prevalent since the world came into its existence. There are several historical remedies to treat spider bites. According to some reports, historically in the 1890s, tobacco juice helped treat spider bites. By rubbing the infected area on the skin with Tobacco juice the treatment took place .In South and Central America a tobacco plant helped in the treatment of insect stings and bites. To cure for tarantism, wild dancing and music were used to treat the infected area. People believed spiders bites caused tarantism. Later on, anti-venoms developed to treat the Wolf spider bites from Brazil. The Wolf spiders are not very harmful. They have never caused severe illness.To contents ↑
Why are spider bites of great concern?
The most important concern of spider bites is the venom it produces. Process of envenomation starts when the spider bites human skin and injects the venom into the skin. All spiders do not have the ability to inject this venom into the human body. Moreover, the amount of venom transmitted into the human body varies from different types of spiders. It also varies to the various level of encounter with the spiders. The physical injury which is caused by the bites from the spiders is insignificant and not of great concern for humans. What matters most is basically the toxic venom injected into the human body. The poisonous nature of spider venom is of great threat to human life and well-being. According to research, there are many spiders which affect humans. They affect humans by causing injury with the amount of venom they inject into the human body. Venom itself is poisonous and harmful; research shows that the majority of the spiders are not very harmful. So their venom is not deadly and poisonous. You do not need medical assistance in cases where spider bites are harmless and intoxic.
The venom of the spiders basically works on the two most important principles. Firstly, the spider venom is neurotoxic. This means that it can attack the nervous system of the human body. Secondly, the spider venom can be necrotic. It means that it can attack the skin tissues near the bite area. In some rare cases, the venom has affected the vital organs and systems of the human body as well. The type of spiders whose venom is neurotoxic includes Australian funnel web spiders, Black Widow spiders, and Brazilian wandering spiders. In very rare cases, the venom of the Black Widow Spider cause heart muscle damage leading to death. Moreover, the venom of the Funnel Web spider may cause fluid accumulation in the lungs and pulmonary edema. These are few rare complications of this type of spider bite. On the other hand; the types of spiders with necrotic venom include Recluse spiders and South African sand spiders. One of the major complications caused by the venom of Recluse spiders is a severe form of ‘hemolysis.’ In this situation spider bites destroys the red blood cells of the human body.To contents ↑
Causes of a spider bite
Spiders do not feed themselves by biting the humans. The bites usually occur as a means of defense mechanism from the humans. They usually occur when there is a sudden or an unintentional contact with them, or if a human accidentally taps them. The spiders usually do not have big enough fangs to enter the human body’s skin. According to research, several spider bites that are big enough to be noticeable lead to no serious medical harm.
Spider bites basically contain some combinations of various quantities of neurotoxins, necrotic agents. They also have some other active compounds which are active pharmacologically, such as serotonin.
According to research over the years, only two most common types of spider species had a great impact on humans. The two most important spiders are Black Widow and Recluse brown spiders. These two spider bites rarely cause fatalities unlike the bites from a scorpion or a snake. At the same time, other rare species, such as isolated spider families across the globe produce a dangerous neurotoxic poison. A few of the isolated spider species to mention include Wandering Spiders in Brazil and the Funnel Web Spiders of Australia. But humans have had very less contact with these spiders. Thereby very few deaths occurred. Moreover, after the introduction of anti-venom death causalities in Australia decreased.To contents ↑
To get immediate aid after a spider bite one needs to have great knowledge. Accurate knowledge of the different symptoms caused by different types of spider bites is very important. Research has shown that all spiders are poisonous. But at the same time all spiders do not have the capability of injecting this poison through their bites.
The duration of the pain from non-poisonous spider bites is five to sixty minutes. Pain from non-poisonous spider bites has another name ‘dry bites’ on the other hand, pain duration from highly poisonous spiders is very long. It may last up to or more than twenty-four hours. In very severe circumstances and cases, the bites cause bleeding as well. The spider bites may also lead to bacterial infection, though its chances of occurring are very low. According to some reports and research in Australia, a few percentages of the spiders cause significant pain. This pain may last for more than twenty-four hours. The Redback spiders cause the spider bites causing significant pain. In severe cases, if the nervous system activates it may lead to sweating, high blood pressure, and gooseflesh.
Spider bites from the Recluse spiders are minor and insignificant with no necrosis condition. But a small number of spider bites cause necrotic skin lesions. Initially, it causes pain and tenderness in the area where the bite occurs. The redness caused in the skin changes in a few days to bluish dead skin patches. These are the common sign of necrosis. The injury caused by this spider bite heals slowly. But it does heal completely. In rare cases some of the widespread symptoms include anemia. In addition to this, in the rare circumstances, systemic condition with some fatalities occurs.
Most commonly, the spider bites on the human body are similar to any other insect bites. They may cause your skin to go red and be inflamed with some itchiness. A painful bump causes your skin to inflate. Sometimes the bite is so insignificant that you may not even notice it. These are the symptoms of harmless spiders. They do not show any other symptom than this. Some of the other symptoms of different spider types are as followed. Black Widow Spider is one of the common spider species and its bite symptoms include pain, cramping, and sweating. The pain from this spider’s bite begins with an hour after the spider bites you. It is around the area where the bite occurs. But it can also increase and spread around in the back, chest or abdomen area. Moreover, cramping is another symptom in the abdominal area. In rare situations, this cramping gets too severe to the level of appendicitis or a ruptured appendix. Moreover, excessive sweating is also another sign of the black widow spider bite. In some cases, a bite from the Black widow spider may not be felt much and be just a pinprick. Also, sometimes double fang marks are visible through its bite. But the most common symptoms of Black Widow spider include immediate pain, swelling, burning, and redness.
In addition to the above-mentioned symptoms of a Brown recluse spider bite, some other symptoms include pain, fever, body aches, and chills. The pain caused by a Brown Recluse spider is not much initially. But it has a tendency to increase in about eight hours from the time it bites you. The complete healing time of the bite is about one week. In some rare cases, skin from the center of the bite might become dark blue or purplish in color. It may increase and become a deep open sore just like an ulcer. This ulcer may enlarge while the surrounding skin dies. The ulcer finishes in about ten days, but the complete healing of the left over mark may take months to vanish. According to some reports, Brown Recluse spider bites may cause your skin to become bluish and purplish in the bite area. A white and red inner and outer ring may form as well. Thus, it makes a similar pattern to that of a ‘bull’s eye’. After this, a fluid-filled blister forms, this becomes an ulcer. It then turns black before the final healing process starts. Black Widow spiders are hardly very dangerous and leading to deaths. Also, very few deaths have occurred from the bite of the Brown Recluse spider. Deaths by this type of spider have occurred more in children than in adults. Thus, children are more vulnerable to this spider’s bite.
Furthermore, there are some of symptoms that are applicable on all types of spiders. These generalized symptoms include headache, nausea, vomiting, fever, abdominal pain, joint pain, stiffness, or feelings of malaise, rash, and muscle cramping or tension. At times it is difficult to recognize whether the bite on the skin was from a spider or from some other insect. It is difficult if one does not himself see it biting. Also, many other symptoms on the skin are similar to those of a spider bite too. These include thorn injury, early Lyme disease, burns, bites, and stings from other insects and arthropods including mosquitoes, fleas, bed bugs, ants, and ticks. Other similar skin conditions include Streptococcal and Staphylococcal infections, early lesions of herpes simplex or zoster.
Spiders have the ability of not biting people voluntarily. They only bite if are being threatened or disturbed. Research has shown that people often get panicked thinking that they have a spider bite. Though in reality, they have a bite due to some other cause such as skin disease, skin allergy or an insect bite.
In cases where you do not observe that whether the bite was from a spider or some other insect one should immediately visit the doctor. Visiting the doctor will be a precautionary measure to be on the safe side. In situations where one is unsure that whether a poisonous spider or a harmless spider bit you, you should seek prompt medical advice. If the person is experiencing intense pain, cramping in the abdomen or an ulcer at the bite area one should immediately go to the doctor. In addition, if a person is having breathing difficulties, he/she should immediately go to the doctor. Therefore to avoid any unforeseen harmful consequences from the spider bites, you should immediately seek medical assistance without any delays. In situations where one is not sure of whether the symptoms are a true depiction of an actual spider bite or not, a visit to the doctor is necessary to be on the safe side. The symptoms of several other insects’ bites are similar to those of spiders. Distinguishing only spider bites is difficult, so you should seek expertise knowledge to avoid fatal situations.To contents ↑
Research has shown that most spider bites are not very serious or harmful and treated at home. Though there are for a few exceptions and rare cases. Treatment at home may include an application of ice for the first few initial hours for about fifteen to twenty minutes. Some Antihistamines, such as Benadryl is beneficial to use as eases your initial pain or the uneasiness caused by the bite. In order to avoid any itchiness, you should apply calamine lotion directly to the skin.
On the other hand, there are some cases where more harmful spiders bite people where you need immediate medical assistance. More harmful spiders are Black Widow spiders and Brown Recluse spiders. They cause a harmful bite to a human body. So in these cases one is required to take certain actions immediately. Such a person should quickly clean the bitten area with some soap and water. In order to reduce pain, you should use certain pain relaxers. But in extreme situations where the bitten area does not heal on its own, a visit to the doctor becomes a necessity. The doctor recommends such a patient use of antibiotics and tetanus injections. The doctors recommend tetanus boosters to persons who have not had it over a period of five years. In very extreme circumstances where these medicines do not work, the doctor might inject anti-venom into your body. The anti-venoms might lead to other side effects. It is therefore the last option for the doctors to treat severe patients.
Furthermore, the bites from less harmful spiders cause simple redness and itching. A little pain treatment at home includes the use of pain reliever to eradicate pain. Along with the use of pain relievers, you can apply wet cloth or cooling packs on the skin. This will eradicate all the swelling. The home treatment solves your problem and damage in about seven to ten days. In very rare and extreme cases, people might get allergies to spider bites. Both non-poisonous and poisonous spider bites cause theses allergies at the same time. But research has shown that these allergies caused by a contact with the spider instead of being bitten up by the spider.To contents ↑
First aid treatment
First Aid is extremely important for spider bites. According to research, most spider bites are not very harmful. So the first aid treatment given at home is essential and enough to heal most of spider bites. The first aid treatment at home basically includes immediate application of ice or cool water packs available to on the skin where the bite occurs. This will help prevent the swelling and will further reduce reddish coloring and burns. Moreover the person will also feel some pain. So certain pain relievers of mild level are also required to be available at all times. This should be enough for the complete treatment of the spider bite. But in rare circumstances, if the injury caused does not heal up immediately. You should seek medical assistance to avoid any fatalities later on.To contents ↑
Home Remedies for spider bites
For the mild level of spider bites, there are several simple home remedies you can adopt and solve your problem. The most common spider bite reactions are chances of infection, itching, allergy, or irritation. You can easily treat them through home remedies. The bacteria entering your body may cause Infections. While contact with the spiders causes many allergies. The irritation and itching caused by spider bites are of different levels and intensities. Different home remedies are helpful in treating them all. (Finley)
Firstly, the wound should be clean with soap water or any other anti-germ products. Antibiotics ointments help to reduce infections. In order to treat for itching, irritation and swelling you should use various balms made from home ingredients These include the application of ice or cold water in the bite are to reduce swelling, applying a paste of baking soda and water. To prevent bacteria attack, application of a paste of crushed aspirin and water to lessen the pain caused. Aloe Vera gel also helps reduce pain and itching. Olive oil and turmeric paste help in reducing redness and swelling. In addition to this by elevating the bite area, you can reduce blood flow to gain some comfort and ease. Anti-itching lotions such as Calamine lotion help in reducing the itching caused. Pain relievers of mild levels reduce the pain to a great extent. (Finley)To contents ↑
The best way to deal with spider bites is to avoid them in the first place. This will help save from the later complications and difficulties. Following several steps help in preventing the spiders from biting humans in the first place. These steps include clearing up clutter and all the waste around you if there is any. You should clear up all waste inside, as well as outside houses. Waste and clutter is not just present in the vicinity of the household, but is present in the entire city area. Thus, all the concerned city and district authorities should take notice of it. They should take steps to get rid of the waste. Furthermore, use of pesticides regularly is helpful in preventing spiders increasing their population. Moreover, in the areas with a greater chance of spiders being present, people should wear covered clothes with full sleeves. In addition to this, workers who are involved in ensuring a cleaner environment for other people should take some precautionary measures themselves. The worker responsible for using pesticides in the environment are required to wear long-sleeved shirt, hat, gloves and boots to cover every body part. While handling the various boxes, rocks, things, etc they should also wear these things. Moreover, they are also required to ensure that the clothes and shoes are clean by shaking them well. Also, they need to use insect repellants on their clothes and shoes. These precautionary measures are suitable for all types of workers who are working in the areas with a high chance of spiders being present.
In addition to the prevention measures mentioned above, other methods are as followed. In order to reduce the number of spiders indoors inside households, you should do regular dusting and vacuuming sh. Moreover, you should properly seal windows and doors to minimize the entry points of spiders at all times. You should also keep them closed. Outside the houses, you should keep all the weeds and bushes at a lower level and should not be very high. One should adopt a cautious attitude when working in darker and less noisy places such as basements, garages and outside buildings. At these quiet places spiders are more active. Even by following all these preventive and precautionary measures, it is very difficult to remove all the spiders. Thus, it is difficult to completely remove all chances of spiders biting you. Luckily, you can easily and conveniently treat most spider bite symptoms at home. But for severe circumstances, such as bitten up by deadly spiders and in other doubtful situations, one should seek immediate medical assistance.
In possible situations, you should get a hold of the spiders which have caused you injury. You can capture the spider dead or alive and keep in a safe place to be easily recognized. This will help the concerned authorities to do research and devise precautionary measures of dealing with them. The spiders captured should not be touched with naked hands. You should wear gloves to avoid transmission of any germs. In cases of serious reactions, the experts can easily identify the type of spider. They can then immediately take or advise you relevant measures to take and deal with the problem.To contents ↑
An interesting research finding by the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh states that the majority of spiders found in the USA are not very harmful nor poisonous, so humans have no threat from them. The main reason behind this is the fact that most spiders across the globe have small fangs which cannot penetrate through a human’s skin. Thus, they do not cause much damage and just lead to redness and itching, which vanishes away in a few weeks, but this is always not the case, so one should take preventive measures to avoid fatalities and troubles later on. (Colleen M.)
Written by Colleen M. StoryMedically Reviewed on September 20, 2013 by George Krucik, MD, MBA. “Venomous Spider Types.” Healthline. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Sept. 2016.
Finley, ByAmy. “Spider Bite Home Remedies.” LoveToKnow. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Sept. 2016.