What to Do If Bitten by a Poisonous Spider

The pain of a bite of a venomous spider may last longer than 24 hours so it is important to get emergency medical attention immediately after being bitten. First aid and bite treatment depend on the kind of spider that has bitten an individual. This is the reason why it is important that the spider is captured (either in a preserved state or even alive) to enable the medical facility to precisely determine what anti-venom should be administered.

Some bites of dangerous spider species may be painless and cannot be easily noticed, but bitten individuals should not ignore these pale signs and should still take immediate medical help.

Why Spiders Bite

A spider usually bites after being accidentally trapped by humans or when a person brushes up against the spider by which the spider can give a defensive bite.

black-widow-spider
The black widow is one of the world’s most poisonous spiders

Bites of poisonous spiders, such as the black widow spider, Brazilian wandering spider, or Australian venomous funnel web spider, require immediate and appropriate medical care since bites from these spiders could lead to a medical emergency.

A black widow spider bite usually leads to muscle cramps. The Brazilian wandering spider and Australian venomous funnel web spider are considered more dangerous than the black widow spiders due to their lengthier fangs and greater amount of venom injected in a deeper part of the body of the victim. The bite of a Brazilian wandering spider may cause priapism, which is a persistent and painful erection of the penis.

While Waiting for Emergency Medical Care

If you know that you have been bitten by a poisonous spider, you must get emergency medical help. While you are waiting for medical care, there are a few things you can do to help prevent the spider venom from further spreading.

  1. Get first aid treatment for the poisonous spider bite. This includes cleaning the bitten area with soap and water.
  2. Apply a cool/cold compress on the bitten area using a damp cloth. If the bite was made by the black widow or the brown recluse spider, the body part that has been bitten must be elevated to slow down the spread of the spider venom.
  3. Patch the bite with a snug bandage prior to limb elevation so as to slow down or prevent the spread of the spider venom. Make sure that the bandage is secured tightly to ensure stoppage of venom circulation within the arm or leg.
  4. Take aspirin, antihistamine, or acetaminophen to reduce or eliminate minor signs and symptoms. However, caution must be observed when giving these medicines to children and even to teenagers.

Always remember that severe signs and symptoms, as well as those that worsen up to more than 24 hours of the incident of a venomous bite, require medical attention. This is what happened to an Edinburgh student who was hospitalized due to a spider bite.

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