(Including Black Widow and Brown Recluse)
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
- Are spider bites dangerous?
- What are the symptoms of spider bites?
- Black widow spider bite symptoms (picture of black widow)
- Brown recluse spider bite symptoms (picture of brown recluse spider)
- What should you do if you are bitten by a spider?
- What should you do if you are bitten by a black widow or brown recluse spider?
- Spider Bites At A Glance
- Black Widow vs. Brown Recluse Slideshow Pictures
- Bad Bugs and Their Bites Slideshow Pictures
- Adult Skin Problems Slideshow Pictures
- Patient Comments: Spider Bites (Black Widow, Brown Recluse) - Treatments
- Patient Comments: Spider Bites - Type of Spider and Reaction
- Patient Comments: Spider Bites - Symptoms
- Patient Comments: Spider Bites - Brown Recluse
- Patient Comments: Spider Bites - Black Widow
- Find a local Doctor in your town
Are spider bites dangerous?
Most spiders do not have mouth parts strong enough to penetrate human skin, and the majority of spiders found in the U.S. and are actually harmless. There are two notable exceptions, the black widow spider and the brown recluse spider, which are both dangerous to humans. Spider bites are fortunately uncommon. In many cases, presumed spider bites are actually due to another skin condition or an insect sting.
The black widow and brown recluse spiders are more common in the southern states of the U.S. They prefer warm, dry climates and undisturbed areas such as basements, closets, woodpiles, attics, or under sinks. The black widow spider is a small, black, shiny spider with a red hourglass marking on its belly. The brown recluse spider is sometimes termed a "violin spider." It is about an inch long and has a marking resembling a violin on the upper part of its back. Bites from both the black widow and brown recluse spiders are dangerous to humans and require prompt emergency medical care.
What are the symptoms of spider bites?
Bites from most (non-poisonous) spiders cause local redness, irritation, and pain that usually can be treated at home using an over-the-counter pain reliever along with application of cooling packs or a wet cloth to relieve swelling. These local reactions usually resolve without treatment over a period of 7-10 days. Rarely, an individual can have an allergic reaction to a spider bite, even to a bite from a non-poisonous spider, but allergic reactions are more likely to be due to contact with a spider than from a spider bite.
Black widow spider bite symptoms
A black widow spider bite is said to feel like a pinprick, although victims may not realize that they have been bitten. Sometimes double fang marks may be seen at the location of the bite. The most common localized symptoms of a black widow spider bite are immediate pain, burning, swelling, and redness.
Picture of the underside of a black widow spider and an egg sack
Picture of a top view of a black widow spider
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