Dealing with a Spider Bite
While many spider bites will produce nothing more than a little discomfort, a bite from a brown recluse or other poisonous spider can have serious consequences. If you suspect that you’ve been bitten by any poisonous variety, there are a few things you should do immediately. Learning these basics could mean the difference between life and death.
Recognize the Signs of a Poisonous Bite
Since you may not experience any pain immediately other than the sharpness of the actual bite, it helps to know a little about what to expect. The area around the bite will become red, and there is the chance that a small ulcer will develop at the site. You may begin to feel queasy and unsteady on your feet. It is not unusual for a fever to develop if treatment is not sought during those first few hours. In more severe cases, you may feel the urge to vomit or experience chills.
While this may seem difficult to do, it is important to maintain a clear head and avoid panicking. Just like with a snakebite, the venom released by the spider will spread through your system with greater speed if you are overly excited and the adrenaline is rushing.
Your first line of defense is to get professional medical help as soon as possible. Since you don’t know how your body will respond to the bite, don’t attempt to drive yourself to the emergency room. Call 911 or get someone to drive you to a doctor or hospital.
During the ride, apply ice to the bite. The cold helps to reduce the swelling and will also help slow the forward movement of the venom.
If the bite is on an area of the body below the heart, attempt to elevate that area to a position that is above the heart. For example, if the bite is on your hand, hold your arm above your chest. In this example, you could also consider applying a tourniquet that helps to slow the progress of the venom through the blood and tissue.
With a spider bite, don’t make assumptions. Let a doctor check the site and initiate treatment as quickly as possible. Even if it turns out to be a non-poisonous bite, the treatment will help ease inflammation. If it is a venomous bite, taking swift action will save your life.