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Symptoms of Spider Bites

Updated February 21, 2017

Horror movies have been made about them. Phobias have been diagnosed because of them. Insecticides have been made because of them. The subject is spiders or arachnids. Each spider has a distinctive bite, and while most are harmless, others can be quite severe that may require medical attention.

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There are at least 50,000 species of spiders that are listed in the Arachnid family. Spiders feed on other insects by injecting them with venom to paralyse them so the spider can then eat them. Spiders are usually recognised as having eight legs and two jointed sections on the body. The reason that most spiders are not dangerous to humans is that their fangs are too small or delicate to bit into the skin. However, some spiders do bite humans and can cause a wide range of symptoms.

Brown Recluse Spider

The brown recluse spider is a brown spider than hides in dark, out of the way places. This spider has six eyes with the shape of a violin on the back. There are no markings on the tail section. When disturbed, the brown recluse will bite, and the victim will feel burning and itching in the first few minutes. A blister surrounded by a red ring and then a white ring will show at the bite site. It is commonly referred to as a bull's eye. The blister will break open and form an ulcer with sometimes severe pain. The can grow before it heals. Other symptoms include fever, nausea, vomiting and muscle aches. Antibiotics and sometimes surgery are treatments for a brown recluse bite.

Black Widow

Black Widow spiders are usually found around garbage cans, garages, closets or attics. The female black widow is the only dangerous black widow. Black widow spiders are black with large tail sections and have a red hourglass shape on the underbelly. The bite is pale in the middle with a red ring around it. Muscle pain and cramping in the shoulders, back, legs, thighs and arms will appear the first few hours followed by difficulty breathing, increased blood pressure, sweating, itching, headache, nausea, vomiting and anxiety. If serious symptoms develop, take the bitten individual to the nearest hospital. Treatments will be determined by the physician.

Wolf Spider

Wolf spiders are large hairy spiders and usually burrow in the ground instead of weaving a web. They are very fast and aggressive. The bite from this spider will usually tear the skin and can cause the bit site to turn black, lasting up to 10 days. Keep the wound clean to prevent infection.


In most cases, spider bites are generally not even noticed. What symptoms that are seen can easily be treated with topical antibiotic creams and keeping the wound clean. Only if a wound does not seem to be healing or getting larger, it is important to visit the physician. Do not leave any unhealed or growing to wound untreated.

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About the Author

Cathy Conrad has more than five years of newsprint experience as an assistant editor and is a professional writer. She has worked as a virtual assistant and email support specialist, and has more than 20 years of experience working in the medical field. Conrad is currently licensed as a Texas insurance representative and has many years in home improvement and gardening.

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