Spiders are the most commonly feared insects, due to their menacing appearance and, most importantly, their bite. With over 30,000 different species, the spider fearing seemingly has quite a few reasons to worry. Fortunately, most species are unable to penetrate a human’s epidermis or deliver venom harmless to humans. However, there still are a number of species that can deliver a painful, if not dangerous, bite.
Is It Really a Spider Bite?
Unless you witness a spider biting you, it can be almost impossible to conclusively determine whether a spider is responsible for a lesion or rash. Some spider bites will feel similar to a bee sting, while others are relatively painless, leaving a victim unaware that he or she has been bitten until a lesion or rash appears. Additionally, because spiders are so commonly feared, many patients are quick to blame a spider for a suspicious looking bite or rash, when a spider is not the correct cause for the injury.
Harmless Spider Bites
Most spider bites will leave an inflamed, red, painful, and/or itchy blister or lesion at the bite site. The severity of this reaction will depend on the type of spider, as well as the victim’s immune system. Some spiders will also deliver venom that may cause a rash to appear, commonly on a different area of the body than where the victim was bitten. Unless a spider bite is very painful, begins to worsen, or is accompanied by a fever or flu-like symptoms, it can usually be considered relatively harmless.
Venomous Spider Bites
Unfortunately, there are also a few species of spiders that deliver very dangerous bites. The most common of these spiders are the Black Widow and Brown Recluse Spider. If you are bitten by a spider in the widow family, you will notice a painful bite that soon causes muscle spasms and affects nerve function, which may be accompanied by nausea and other flu-like symptoms. If you notice an ulcer beginning to form at the bite site, it is likely that you have been bitten by a Brown Recluse. Recluse spider bites may also cause headaches, chills, leg cramps, fatigue, stomach pain, and muscle pain. If you notice any of these symptoms, you should seek medical treatment immediately.
“Insect Bites and Stings and Spider Bites-Topic Overview.” First Aid Guide and Emergency Treatment Instructions . N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Oct. 2010. http://firstaid.webmd.com/tc/insect-bites-and-stings-and-spider-bites-topic-overview.
“Spider Bites.” The Ohio State University at Marion | Do Something Great…Close To Home!. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Oct. 2010. http://www.marion.ohio-state.edu/spiderweb/spider%20bites.htm.