a spider seen on the skin.
Onset of bite symptoms (redness, pain, swelling) and a spider
is seen in close proximity.
Types of Spider Bites
Black Widow Spider Bite
- A shiny, jet-black spider with long legs (total size 1 inch).
- A red (or orange) hourglass-shaped marking on its under-side.
- Causes immediate local mild pain, swelling and occasionally
2 fang marks.
- Severe muscle cramps are present by 1 to 6 hours, and last 24
to 48 hours.
- Rarely causes death (exception: bitten by several spiders or
small child is bitten).
- Note: many are dry bites because the fangs are small.
Brown Recluse Spider Bite
- A brown spider with long legs (total size 1/2 inch).
- A dark violin-shaped marking on top of its head.
- Causes local pain and delayed blister formation in 4 to 8 hours.
- The center becomes bluish and depressed (crater-like) over 2
to 3 days.
- Skin damage may require skin grafting in 10% of cases.
- Systemic symptoms such as fever, vomiting, muscle pain can occur
(but no life-threatening symptoms).
Non-dangerous Spider Bites
- More than 50 spiders in the U.S. have venom and can cause local,
- The bites are painful and mildly swollen for 1 or 2 days (much
like a bee sting).
- Most single, unexplained, tender bites that occur during the
night are due to spiders.
WHEN TO CALL YOUR DOCTOR FOR SPIDER
Call 911 Now (your child may need an ambulance)If<
Difficulty breathing or wheezing
See More Appropriate Topic(instead
of this one) If
Not a spider
bite, see INSECT BITE.
Call Your Doctor Now (night or day) If:
Call Your Doctor Within 24 Hours (between 9am
and 4pm) If:
- You think
your child needs to be seen.
Bite starts to look bad (e.g. skin damage, blister or purplish
- not just swelling).
Bite pain persists for more than 2 days.
Call Your Doctor During Weekday Office Hours If
You have other questions or concerns
Parent Care at Home If:
spider bite and you don't think your child needs to be seen.
HOME CARE ADVICE FOR NON
Wash the bite thoroughly with soap and water.
Meat Tenderizer: Rub the bite area with a cotton ball
soaked in a meat tenderizer solution for 20 minutes (Exception: avoid if near
the eye). If not available, apply an ice cube for 20 minutes.
Pain Medicine: Give acetaminophen (e.g. Tylenol) or ibuprofen
as needed for pain.
Expected Course: Some swelling and pain for 1 to 2 days.
It shouldn't be any worse than a bee sting.
- Call Your Doctor If:
- Severe bite pain persists for more than 2 hours after pain medicine.
- Abdominal pains or muscle spasms occur.
- Local pain lasts more than 2 days (48 hours).
- Bite begins to look infected.
- Your child becomes worse or develops any of the "Call Your
Disclaimer: This information
is not intended be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is
provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility
for how you choose to use this information.
Pediatric HouseCalls Online. Copyright © 2000-2004
Barton Schmitt, M.D. FAAP
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