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What Are the Most Common Symptoms of Spider Bite Reactions?

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  • Written By: Jami Yontz
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Images By: Kitty, Schankz, Cheryl Casey, Stéphane Bidouze, Greg Friese
  • Last Modified Date: 17 November 2016
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The most common symptoms of spider bite reactions are pain, inflammation, and itching. If the spider venom is poisonous the bite may cause a more severe reaction, which may require immediate medical attention. Most spider venom can be processed by the body, but some people are allergic to venom, even if it is not dangerous, and a bite can cause a severe reaction.

People do not often realize a spider has bitten them, or they may think the bite came from another insect. Spiders dwell in warm, dry, dark places, and normally they will stay away from contact with humans. The fangs of most species of spiders are usually not strong enough to pierce the tough outer layer of human skin, but if a bite does occur, the person should thoroughly clean and disinfect the bite mark as soon as possible to prevent more severe spider bite reactions from developing.

If the person was able to see the spider before being bitten, they should look for the markings of well-known spiders whose venom is poisonous and report this information to a physician. The brown recluse spider has three pairs of eyes and a violin shaped brown spot on the top of its abdomen. Black widow spiders are marked with a red hourglass symbol on the underside of its body. The wolf, mouse, hobo, and black house spider bites are also dangerous, and can be lethal to young children and the elderly.

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Severe spider bite reactions from poisonous venom causes vomiting, vision impairment, fatigue, and memory loss. Hypertension, abdominal cramps, sweating and shortness of breath are also spider bite reactions. In some instances, the venom can cause the tissue around the bite mark to die, and this can spread to surrounding tissue, so it is imperative to seek professional medical attention. If a person believes they have been bitten by a poisonous species, they should clean the bite mark and tie a tourniquet around the limb to prevent the spread of the venom until they can seek medical care.

Most spider bites will heal in time, but a person can apply a cold compress and take an anti-inflammatory to reduce the pain and swelling. If a person is allergic to any type of spider bite they may experience wheezing or develop hives. An allergic reaction can cause the throat to swell and constrict the person’s ability to breathe, which can result in brain damage or death.

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Mykol
Post 4

When we were hiking in the mountains my son had some kind of negative reaction to a spider bite. When we got home we looked at different spider bite photos but weren't able to figure out what it was.

This was the first time he reacted like this to a bite, and I am thankful it did not get infected. It makes me a little uneasy not knowing what kind of spider it was.

What is the best way to go about spider bite identification if you are unsure of what kind it was?

sunshined
Post 3

Every time I get an insect bite I have the classic symptoms. Sometimes I don't know if it is a spider or some other kind of insect, but the area is always red, itchy and often becomes a little bit swollen.

The common symptoms of a spider bite are similar to a lot of other insect bites, and it usually takes a few days for the itching to go away.

I have a friend who is petrified of spiders and she has good reason to be. She has had more than one bad reaction and doesn't even like to spend much time outdoors because she is afraid of getting a spider bite.

julies
Post 2

I live in an area where it is not uncommon to see a black widow spider. If anyone in my family has an insect bite, one of the first things I think about is if it was this type of spider.

Nobody in my family has ever had a strange reaction to a spider bite, but I think you always need to be aware of it. I have compared their spider bites to black widow spider bite pictures, but this isn't always that easy to identify.

LisaLou
Post 1

One time I had a bad reaction to a spider bite and never found out what kind of spider it was. Thankfully my throat didn't start to constrict, but I started sweating profusely and was very dizzy.

I have looked at online pictures of spider bites to try and determine what type of spider it might have been, but have not really been able to narrow it down.

This makes me nervous now anytime I see a spider, and I try to avoid them as much as possible.

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