Spider are among the scariest little creatures on earth, and while most of them are relatively harmless, some can be quite dangerous. Our guide on how to treat a spider bite at home will walk you through everything you need to know about handling the aftermath of a spider bite in a safe way and with minimum discomfort. Not all spider bites are equally dangerous and most of them can be safely treated at home. Out list of home 5 tips can act as a go-through pattern each time you care confronted with a spider’s bite.
But before we move on to the tips themselves, we need to state this important disclaimer: if you are experiencing any worsening of the symptoms, no matter how slight, of if you’re unsure of the type of spider that bit you, or if you have any reason to doubt the efficiency of the home treatment we will instruct you to apply, then by all means go visit a doctor immediately. We shouldn’t have to state yet again how dangerous the bites of certain types of spiders can be (for example, if left improperly treated, the brown recluse spider bite can even lead to the loss of a limb). No type of home treatment and home remedy should replace proper physician care from a certified medical professional.
Be sure to visit a doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms associated with your fresh spider bite:
- A bulls eye appearance of the bite (red dot in the center with a red circle encompassing it) – this may be an indication that you were bit by the supremely dangerous brown recluse spider;
- Severe pain in the area around the bite;
- The bite looking harmless and mildly red at first, but taking on blue-black colors after a few days;
- Fever or vomiting following the spider bite;
- Muscle twitches (especially face twitches beyond your control), and a tingling sensation around your mouth (regardless of where the bite is located on your body);
- Generalized muscle pain throughout the body.
This disclaimer aside, there’s no need to get panicky if you know the type of spider that bit you and if you are confident that you live in a climate which doesn’t host any dangerous species of spiders. A common spider bite can be just a little more annoying than a mosquito bite and will heal in a few days, with just a bit of itching and hurting in the meantime. Here is how to treat a spider bite at home in just 5 easy steps (tips).
1. Identify the type of spider that just bit you
First thing’s first and you need to know what you’re dealing with before you can proceed to applying any home remedies for spider bites. If you’re not familiar with the various species of spiders that live in your state or area, feel free to simply google the name of your state followed by ‘types of spiders’ in order to see if there’s anything to worry about.
In the meantime though, we should state that most United States area don’t play host to any spiders which carry truly dangerous venoms, so there is probably no need to panic. One the other hand areas like Australia and South America can host some pretty mean spider species, so it all comes down to where in the world you live. Here is a chart that explains and pictures the most common types of spiders to be found in populated areas around the world. Take a look at the chart so you can figure out what you’re dealing with (although, as we said, it’s very probable that you don’t really have any palpable cause for concern).
Once you have managed to identify the spider species you are dealing with, you can proceed with the treatment. If you are confident that the spider which just bit you is one of the dangerous ones or if you are experiencing any symptoms associated with potent venoms (such as the symptoms described above), then call medical services immediately and proceed to go to a hospital. Hospitals in any area have anti-venom solutions tailored to the type of spiders which live in the vicinity, and beyond. Another important tip if you are going to a hospital is to make sure you wrap the bitten part of your body tightly with a bandage (if possible), in order to slow the flow of the venom through your system. It's one of the best tips on how to treat a spider bite before the hospital visit, even if it's too serious to treat it entirely at home. Try to do this before leaving to the hospital, if you can, or while you wait for emergency services to come to you, but don’t waste too much time with it.
If, as it is more probable, you don’t actually have any reason to suspect a truly dangerous bite, then you can proceed with a home treatment for the mild discomfort you will experience. We are now moving on with our list of home tips and remedies for treating spider bites at home, provided that you made sure there is no need to actually visit a doctor, and the spider that bit you is virtually harmless. This is how to treat a spider bite at home once you’ve eliminated the possibility of the bite being more dangerous than just your common annoyance.
2. Cleanse the wound of the spider bite with warm water
You can also use a bit of soap if you don’t mind the potential sting (especially if you soap contains perfume and other known irritants). Some of the most well-known traditional tips on how to treat a spider bite at home include this simple, but highly effective technique. The healing power of warm water comes from a double source: on one hand, the comforting nature of warm water simply de-tenses the bit area and contributes to alleviating some of the pain and the discomfort, and on the other hand, the cleansing itself reduces the chances of infection and may even manage to draw out some of the venom. (This is why it’s important for the water to be warm, as opposed to cold water which would have a closing effect on the wound and would be not as efficient in washing out the impurities and poison in it).
3. Wrap the wounded area gently and apply an ice pack over it
Now that you’ve got the area cleaned up, pat it dry (gently) and wrap a clean piece of cloth or bandage over it. Feel free to improvise as long as it’s clean; this is how to treat a spider bite properly, by keeping the wound sterile. For example, you can use 2-3 cotton pads concentrated on and around the spider bite, and then held together with a piece of cloth. After you wrap your bitten area, apply an ice pack to it. This tip on how to treat a spider bite at home is meant to decrease the inflammation of the wound, close it and help it heal faster.
4. Apply some of these known remedies for how to treat a spider bite
After an hour or so of applying ice packs to the bitten area, you can stop with that and start applying some healing substances naturally found in most homes. In order to apply them you can remove the bandage for a bit, as long as you replace it immediately afterwards and remember to use sterile bandages every time. You can apply these home remedies twice a day, in the morning and in the evening. Here are some of the most helpful substances for treating a spider bite at home:
- Baking soda mixed with a tablespoon of water (so you can create a spreadable paste);
- Crushed aspirin (also mixed with a tablespoon of water, for the same reason);
- Olive oil (optionally mixed with a few drops of tea tree oil, peppermint oil or lavender oil, if you happen to have any of those around for aromatherapy purposes);
- Aloe Vera gel (suitable for calming many other types of irritations, like rashes and beyond);
- Thermal water spray;
- Listerine mouth wash (a very powerful disinfectant);
- A freshly used tea bag, preferably of green tea (and drink up the liquid since it helps too);
- Ground oatmeal or cornstarch (also mixed with a bit of water to make them spreadable).
After applying any of these remedies, wash the area up again before wrapping it in another bandage.
5. Allow the spider bite to heal and continue to apply home remedies to it locally
The symptoms associated with the spider bite (itching, mild local pain, burning) should fade away over the course of a few days or a week. In about 2 weeks’ time, the spider bite should be completely healed. As long as you keep applying some of these remedies every day, you are helping it heal faster, and taking the most efficient way of treating it. Don’t forget that experts agree you should only look into how to treat a spider bite at home once you’ve made sure that the bite is not dangerous. After you rule it out (and if the bite symptoms are not getting worse), a home treatment will work just fine.
Extra Prevention Tips:
Shake out your clothing before you put anything on. This simple habit can save you a lot of turmoil if you live in a place that dangerous or frightening spiders are frequently spotted in. It does not take much time or effort to shake out a shirt or a pair of pants before getting dressed, but it can quickly reveal arachnids in hiding before they get a chance to hurt you.
If you are planning on doing any sort of yard work in an area you suspect to be teeming with spiders, make sure you wear appropriate clothing. Protect yourself with long sleeves, pants, shoes and gloves. Consider wearing a hat as well if webs will be overhead.
Also, if you tend to get bit by spiders often (say, more than 2 times a year), or if you simply notice spiders around your house a lot or live in a spider-infested area, you should do your best to keep them at bay. This can be done by maintaining a clean house, and vacuuming and dusting often (since this reduces the chances of spiders getting installed or getting too comfortable), and by using a spider repellant. In order to keep chemical substances at bay (which may end up hurting not just the spiders, but your own health as well), learn about making your own natural, DIY spider repellant at home, and use it liberally.
Natalie has a graduate degree in economics and experience working as a sales consultant and a social media division manager. When she’s not working, Natalie likes to cook and is fascinating with spices, which she collects prodigiously from all her distant travel locations.