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What Are the Best Tips for Spider Bite First Aid?

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  • Written By: Meshell Powell
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Images By: Cheryl Casey, Greg Friese, Geo Martinez
  • Last Modified Date: 23 November 2016
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Spider bite first aid methods depend on a variety of factors, including the type of spider, specific symptoms, and the age or overall health of the bite victim. While most spiders do not pose a significant health risk to humans, certain spiders do possess potentially fatal types of venom, requiring emergency medical assistance. In most cases, spider bite first aid involves measures such as cold compresses, the use of over-the-counter pain relievers, and the application of antibiotic ointment. When in doubt concerning the most appropriate spider bite first aid methods for a specific situation, a doctor should be consulted.

The first step of spider bite first aid is to attempt to identify the type of spider involved. If it is not possible to actually collect the spider, being able to give a description to a doctor can help determine whether the spider bite requires medical evaluation. Any time that a small child or a person with a compromised immune system is bitten, it is wise to have the bite examined by a medical professional. Symptoms such as intense pain, extreme swelling, or difficulty breathing should be considered a medical emergency.

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Properly cleaning the affected area of skin is the next step in spider bite first aid. Regular soap and water are sufficient to clean the wound, as the goal is to wash away any bacteria or residual venom that could be harmful. The affected part of the body should then be elevated to prevent the spread of the venom. Cold compresses can be used to reduce swelling before applying antibacterial ointment to the wound.

Over-the-counter pain relievers may be taken to alleviate the pain and discomfort caused by the spider bite. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin or ibuprofen can also help reduce inflammation. Acetaminophen may be a better choice if the bite victim has heart or kidney problems.

If the spider is known to be venomous, a tight bandage should be used just above the site of the bite to help prevent the venom from spreading to other parts of the body. After the bandage is applied, the victim should be transported to the nearest hospital for emergency medical evaluation. Even if the spider is not thought to be venomous, symptoms such as facial swelling, difficulty breathing, or chest pain should also prompt a trip to the hospital. Any bothersome symptoms should be reported to a doctor in order to obtain individualized treatment instructions.

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SarahSon
Post 2

I always get nervous when we go camping that someone is going to get bit by a spider and have a bad reaction. This happened to me when I was younger, and ever since then have been really cautious about it.

I try not to be over protective about it and make my kids really nervous about any spider they see, but it is hard for me not to worry about it. When this happened to me, the bite was very swollen and painful and it stayed that way for a long time.

I remember going to the doctor but since we didn't know what kind of spider it was, I just had to closely monitor my symptoms and take some pain relievers. That is the only time I had a reaction like that to a spider bite, but I still have a fear that it will happen again or that might kids might have the same reaction.

LisaLou
Post 1

I have had several spider bites in my lifetime, but thankfully none of them have been all that serious. I tend to swell up with any insect bite, and try to begin treating it right away with some antibiotic ointment. This also helps with the itching, which can sometimes be just as annoying as the redness and swelling.

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