Most spider bites often resemble bug bites on first glance. In both cases, you develop itchy and slightly raised bumps around the bite site. While spiders use venom to catch their prey, few can cause serious harm to humans. Within the United States, only the black widow and brown recluse spiders, have enough toxin proven to be fatal, especially in the elderly or small children. Black widow and recluse bites are particularly dangerous because symptoms can take hours or days to manifest. Once bitten by a poisonous spider, depending on the amount of venom injected, you develop symptoms that will warrant medical attention.
Bugs and Spiders
Examine the bite site. Seeing one puncture mark indicates bites from insects such as mosquitoes or biting flies.
Notice where the bites occurred. For example, mosquitoes bite areas of exposed skin, including your arms or ankles. Recluse spider bites occur on areas of the body where the spider was accidentally pressed against you. Black widow bites occur when you accidentally brush against a web, disturbing the spider.
Watch for symptoms to develop. Raised, itchy and pale bumps that develop quickly, indicate mosquito bites. Flea bites, though not painful, can become quite itchy. Non-deadly spiders cause redness and tingling around the bite site.
Venomous Spider Bites
Observe the affected skin. If you observe two puncture marks it is most likely caused by a spider.
Look for discoloration around the bite site, which could indicate a brown recluse bite. Signs of brown recluse bites include blue-to-purple coloring or a visible bulls-eye ring around the bite and ulcers. Brown recluse venom contains enzymes that break down your blood vessels and surrounding tissue, resulting in tissue death.
Search for rashes on your skin. Watch for swelling of your eyelids or if your eyes begin to tear. These are symptoms of a black widow bite. The black widow releases proteins in its venom, which travel throughout your bloodstream resulting in these symptoms.
Notice if you develop symptoms of nausea, chills, vomiting and abdominal pain. This indicates being bitten by a black widow. Flu-like symptoms and pain that increases without alleviation can indicate brown recluse bites.
Spider bites can sometimes feel like a pinprick, though you may not always feel anything. When possible, capture the spider that bit you for examination by your doctor. Wash your wound with soap and water after being bitten. Use an elastic bandage to firmly wrap above the bite and elevate the affected limb, as you seek medical attention. This can prevent the spread of the spider's venom.
Seek immediate medical attention if you begin to salivate, develop tremors or muscle weakness in your legs. Avoid scratching any spider bites as they easily become infected. Recluse spiders like to hide in your clothing and shoes. Cases of people being bitten while sleeping in bed, have occurred from recluse bites, notes The Ohio State University.