What are the treatments for spider bites?

Updated April 17, 2017

Treating spider bites is something that most of us will never have to worry with. Serious spider bites are rare in most areas of the world. Still, spider bite treatment is an important thing to know. Accidents do happen, and spiders do sometimes bite. It's important for you to know what to do when your are bitten, and advanced treatments available if the bite is a serious one.


The most important factor in treatment of spider bites is where you are located in the world. In the United States, there are only a couple of venomous spiders that are generally of major concern. In Sydney, Australia, there are a great many spiders that pack a serious spider bite much more dangerous than those in America. This holds true for all areas of the world, and the first and most important step in spider bite treatment is to consider those spiders in your region. It is also important to verify that the patient has not been exposed to foreign spiders as pets.

Home Treatment

For the vast number of spider bites out there, home treatment is more than adequate to solve them. Remain calm, as getting excited will push the venom through the bloodstream quickly. All spiders are venomous, so this is significant even in spider bites from generally harmless spiders. Next you should wash the area with soap and water, and put the affected bite site below the heart to slow the venom. Apply ice once per hour for about 15 minutes for six hours. After six hours, then you can try heat to give comfort to the site. If the spider bite was by a dangerous spider such as the black widow or brown recluse, then you should immediately consult a doctor.

Non-Prescription Medicines

The average spider bite will produce pain, itching and swelling. These symptoms are often well treated by over-the-counter medications. These medications include Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen for pain, and Benadryl or Hydrocortisone creams for itching or swelling. Be sure to consider any allergic reactions you may have had to these medications in the past, and only take them if they are safe for you.

Dangerous Bites

Some spiders' venom is particularly toxic to human beings. With spider bites like these, home treatment is not a good idea. The first thing is to know the spiders that you could potentially be bitten by, and to prepare for each. As a rule, any spider bite that gets worse over time is a potentially dangerous bite. Antivenin is available for some spider bites, such as from the black widow spider. The antivenom itself can be dangerous to some people, so it is important to be tested for allergic reactions first.


As a rule, spider bites heal themselves and do not even leave a scar. In a serious spider bite, every outcome from complete recovery to death is possible. It really depends on the amount of venom injected and the species of spider. For example, the brown recluse spider has a necrotic venom. This means that the bite site often spreads and kills the surrounding tissue. For this reason it is important that you get prompt medical attention for any unidentified spider bite.


Any spider bite with a child, the elderly or the very sick is considered to be a medical emergency. The venom in these situations can have serious side effects and even bring about death with some species. For this reason, any people bitten that fall in this category absolutely should see a doctor right away after a spider bite. Home treatment is not indicated for these people until a doctor clears it as a safe option.

Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Based in Greensboro, Rodney Southern has been writing and editing sports and nature articles for going on 10 years. His articles have appeared in "Nicean" magazine, "The Sporting News" website and countless other online venues. Southern was the 2008 Ultimate Call for Content National Award Winner. He attended Guilford Tech and was trained as an EMT in the Army.