Daily Archives: July 30, 2014

The Itsy Bitsy Spider….What to do if You Are Bitten

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Over the last 4 days, I have been trying to recover from some nasty spider bites. ‘Tis the season, I suppose, but I sure am annoyed.  I can’t just stop my life like this!  I have too much to do! 

I was at my studio the other day, and did some deep cleaning and furniture rearranging.  During the course of moving an antique rug, I managed to dislodge a nest of spiders that promptly bit me on the arm and ankle.  It was not fun.  I have been ill ever since, needing much more sleep than I am comfortable with, craving lemon water and feeling feverish, achy and nauseated.  Had the malady not resolved itself by today, I had planned to go to the doctor….but I am feeling better this morning.   Since I am not the only person suffering from spider bites, I thought I’d write a post about ways in which to treat their bites naturally.  

This advice is for non-dangerous spider bites only.  If you determine that you have been bitten by a dangerous spider, please seek help from a physician immediately!

black widow

First and foremost, one should identify the spider, if possible.  I was not able to identify the ones that bit me, because they were tiny and scattered everywhere, very quickly, when I dislodged their nest.  However, I banked on the fact that while they can make one sick,  most spider bites are not from dangerous spiders – in fact, many supposed spider bites are actually insect bites that are easily treated.

  • Try to save the specimen, even if it’s squashed. Rubbing alcohol can be used to preserve a spider.
  • If you cannot find the spider, move on to cleaning and examining the bite area.

The  first thing you should do is wash the affected area thoroughly with soap and water.  This will help prevent infection.  Use cool, soapy water.  Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint soap is a good one to use, because it is castile (made from olive oil) and peppermint has natural antibiotic properties.

wash bite

Next, apply a cold compress.  This is a good way to help the pain and make the swelling go down. 

compress

If the bites are on your arms or legs, it is a good idea to try to elevate the bitten area as much as possible.  This is another way to reduce the inflammation and swelling. 

elevate

Take Willow Bark tablets.   This is the natural substance from which aspirin is derived.  Children or teenagers recovering from chickenpox or who have flu-like symptoms should not take it.

Monitor the situation over the next 24 hours.  In some cases, a bite from a normally non-dangerous spider can cause an allergic reaction.   This is what happened to me. (I had 6 of the following 7 symptoms.)

Call emergency medical services immediately if the person with the spider bite has the following symptoms:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Nausea
  • Muscle spasms
  • Lesions
  • Tightening in the throat that makes it hard to swallow
  • Sweating profusely
  • Feeling faint