Warning: reading may incite feelings of creepy crawling all over your body.
That said, all the information here is important to keeping you and your kiddos safe from these creatures. Of course, we are talking about spiders.
Those long legs and round bodies freak us out every time. It’s bad enough knowing that they’re out there, but they also bite us, which makes it that much worse.
Nevertheless, spiders play a vital role in our ecosystem, and we can’t get rid of them entirely. We may not want them in our house or on our person, but they are definitely needed in the wild.
But with all our fun outdoors comes the realization that we may, in fact, be bitten by a spider at some point in our lives. Unfortunately for us, Peter Parker is a character and what happens to him just isn’t real.
So instead, we need to be ready to deal with spider bites if they happen. Some of those spiders out there come with serious risks, so facts for treatment as well as prevention are key.
The Truth About Spiders
There are a lot of facts out there about spiders. Today, we want to concentrate on what will help keep you bite-free.
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Did you know that only a few varieties of spiders that bite are truly dangerous? In fact, only one type of dangerous spider ranks up with other more dangerous insects. While there are only a few types of spiders that bite, their bites can look similar to other insect stings and bites.
For example, many spider bites can look similar to mosquito bites. Mosquito bites, however, require very different treatment compared to what you need for a spider.
So first, let’s go over the types of venomous spiders that are out there and what their bites look like so you know what to expect and how to treat them.
Brown Recluse Spider
Brown recluse spiders like to live how their name describes. A very reclusive, tucked away lifestyle. They enjoy hiding in the deep corners of your basement or attic, where little to no interaction with humans will take place.
A fun fact about brown recluse spiders: they only have six eyes! It is one of the top ways to identify them compared to other types of spiders.
If you are worried you may have been bitten by a brown recluse, look for a bulls-eye around the bite. Generally, brown recluse spider bites will also be accompanied by a white blister. The pain will increase gradually over about ten days, and you may also experience stomach cramps, fever, or chills.
Black Widow Spider
Black widow spiders are one of the more common spiders in North America and can get very large. They’re the most easily identified due to the red hourglass mark on their body.
As with the brown recluse, black widow spider bites will become more painful over time, and further symptoms will include fever, cramps, and belly stiffness. The bite area will also become redder over time and develop swelling.
While these guys look scary, their bark is worse than the bite. Their fangs can pierce your skin, make no mistake, but the pain is minimal, and reactions are slight.
Some varieties of tarantula can also shoot the hairs on their body at you, which can cause some irritation, itching, and pain. However, symptoms of these spiders should be gone within a week of the attack.
These guys had a bad rap in the past. Entomologists used to believe they were as dangerous as a brown recluse. It has been proven with time, however, that their bite is relatively mild.
Some swelling may occur, but it will be mild and fade fast. Pain and irritation at the affected site will also be mild and shouldn’t last longer than a few days. These guys like to hide in wood piles and other dark, damp corners on your property. So, be careful when reaching for a log next time.
They sound pretty menacing, but wolf spiders are generally harmless to humans. They stalk their prey, much like a wolf in the wild, which is where their name is derived.
If they do bite you, the bite can be painful at first and mildly sore for a few days. However, they aren’t dangerous even if they bite you, so the symptoms likely won’t last. Those that do experience exaggerated symptoms are allergic to their venom, so it is unlikely it will happen.
How To Treat a Spider Bite
Treating a spider bite will vary slightly depending on what type of spider bit you.
With that said, a lot of home and natural remedies can be used universally and won’t depend too much on identifying the type of spider that caused the issue.
For brown recluse and black widow spiders, anti-venom can be used in cases of extreme reaction. A small percentage of people find themselves highly sensitive or allergic to their venom and require further medical attention.
If you find yourself having trouble breathing, increased blood pressure, intense and unmanageable muscle cramps, or excessive hives, you may be experiencing life-threatening reactions to the venom in spider bites.
Should this occur, seek medical care from a healthcare provider or emergency room immediately.
In these instances, spider bite treatment isn’t possible on your own, and you require further attention to relieve symptoms. Otherwise, keep your first aid kit stocked with these items for relief.
Over-the-counter (OTC) medications can be used to relieve symptoms in standard reactions. These medications include anything that will reduce swelling or pain.
Look for medications that include ibuprofen or acetaminophen. These two ingredients will treat fevers, pain, and swelling around the spider bite.
For those that have heightened reactions that include intense itching, you may be allergic to the bites. If the reaction is mild enough to be treated at home, you can use an antihistamine like Benadryl to treat your symptoms.
Creams and Ointments
If your symptoms are mild and you don’t want to give your child medication or take any yourself, there are ointments available that can also reduce symptoms of irritation and itch.
Hydrocortisone and antihistamine ointments will work to reduce swelling and redness at the site and itching below the skin. They usually work quickly after applying but wear off fast.
You also run the increased risk of kids wiping them off immediately after applying. If this occurs, you leave your child open to pain and itching reactions. If there’s anything we know about kids, it’s that they scratch whatever itches.
Intense scratching could scratch the skin and cause further problems from issues like skin infections.
If you mostly experience pain and swelling but not enough for medicines, an ice pack might work perfectly for you.
Ice will help reduce the swelling around the bite and help bring down the red coloring around the bite marks. It will also help to numb the pain that comes along with swelling so that you should feel relief fast.
The downside with ice packs: the relief doesn’t last long. Prolonged icing or continuous icing may be necessary to keep symptoms at bay.
Making a paste from baking soda and water can be applied to spider bites to relieve swelling and irritation. It works to naturally relieve the symptoms associated with spider bites and can be used for other insect bites as well.
The biggest issue here is that it has to be applied directly to the affected area. This is fine, except that it can rub off as kids play or while we work and get chores done. It also only lasts a little while and will have to be re-applied often.
Grab the Patch
Instead of hoping that cream, ointments, sprays, or pastes will stay in place, add a MagicPatch to your bites.
Our scientifically-engineered grid technology was originally made to treat mosquito bites but can also be used on other types of bug bites. Mosquitoes leave behind their saliva after biting you (hint: that’s what causes that specific itch), and the MagicPatch drains the lymphatic system of the yucky bug residue. This relieves the itching and irritation oh-so-fast.
These patches are also designed to work for up to seven days and stay in place through play, school, and even bathtime. So by the time they need to be removed, symptoms should be gone, just like the memories of the annoying itch.
How To Prevent Spider Bites
While most of the reactions to these bites aren’t overly dangerous or cause for concern, we still don’t want to be bitten.
Instead, use these helpful tips and tricks to ensure that you lower your chances of bites for you and your kiddos.
Tidy Up the Yard
As we said above, certain types of biting spiders like to hide in wood and logs you collect for firewood. If you have a large pile of wood for your fireplace, take two big steps to lower your chances of being bitten by a spider.
First, keep the wood away from the house. Since spiders will use the wood to burrow and hide, piling it against the house will increase the chances of those spiders migrating inside, especially on particularly hot or cold days.
Second, keep the pile covered with a plastic tarp. This will deter spiders and other insects from using your firewood as a place to hide.
Keep Your Home Tidy
This is especially hard for kids, but don’t keep large piles of toys or clothes all over the floor. Even if your kiddos make a mess, cleaning up the messes often will discourage spiders from hiding there.
What’s important to know here is that these large piles of items are basically an invitation to spiders and other insects to hang out and stay for a while.
Shake It Out
If you do pick up something off the floor to wear or use, like gloves or shoes, always shake them out. Spiders may be inside, so instead of finding out with your foot or finger, shake out the items or step on them to squish them first.
Thanks but No Thanks, Spiders
We know this was some hard information to read without feeling squirmy. Once the phantom itching subsidies, we are confident you have everything you need to keep your family free of spider bites.
It’s not always easy, but we know that even if bites occur, our patches are the perfect remedy to get your relief fast.