Although spiders do a lot of good, such as ridding households and gardens of unwanted pests, they can also be pests themselves. Plus, they’re pretty terrifying to look at (sorry, spider-lovers).

Although most spider bites are relatively harmless, some types of spiders can pack a venomous punch and cause serious side effects. Read on to learn more about spider bites from our AFC Urgent Care Chattanooga team!

How Can I Know If I’ve Been Bitten By a Spider?

Honestly, it’s tough to tell. If a spider bite is harmless, it looks pretty much like any other type of insect bite. There will usually be skin redness, light swelling, pain around the area of the bite and itchiness.

If you think you’ve been bitten by a spider, make sure the swelling is localized. If it doesn’t get out of control, you can treat it effectively at home by considering the tips we’ve listed below.

Ways to Treat Bites at Home

  • Clean the bite area with warm water and soap.
  • Apply a cold, damp washcloth or an ice pack to the bite area.
  • Elevate the bite area.
  • Take an antihistamine (allergy medication) to ease itching and swelling.
  • Take an over-the-counter pain reliever for pain and swelling.

How Can I Know If a Spider Bite Is Serious?

There are three types of spider bites that can cause serious medical symptoms: black widow bites, brown recluse bites and hobo spider bites. While the bites of these three types of spiders don’t all feel the same, they can all cause terminal outcomes if their bites aren’t treated quickly and correctly.

Seek emergency medical attention if you experience the symptoms we’ve listed below.

Serious Spider Bite Symptoms

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Heart palpitations, a racing pulse or other heart problems
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Severe muscle pain, cramps, weakness or paralysis
  • Signs of infection, such as fever or yellow discharge from the bite area
  • Vision problems or severe headache

Spider bites can be scary. If you think you’ve been bitten by a spider and don’t know what to do, reach out to our AFC team today!