Spider Bites (Black Widow and Brown Recluse) (cont.)
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.
In this Article
- Spider bites facts
- 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)
- Are spider bites dangerous?
- 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?
- Black Widow vs. Brown Recluse Slideshow Pictures
- Bad Bugs and Their Bites Slideshow Pictures
- Adult Skin Problems Slideshow Pictures
- Find a local Doctor in your town
What should you do if you are bitten by a black widow or brown recluse spider?
- Wash the bite area with soap and water.
- Elevate the area to prevent spread of the venom.
- Tie a snug bandage above the area (if on an arm or leg) to further reduce spread of the venom, but do not make the bandage too tight that it impairs the blood circulation.
- Always seek immediate emergency medical care. An anti-venom medication is sometimes given for black widow spider bites. Doctors use different types of medications to treat spider bites, including pain relievers, muscle relaxants, and/or corticosteroids. Sometimes hospitalization is required after black widow or brown recluse spider bites.
- If possible, retrieve the spider and bring it with you to the health care practitioner so that it can be definitively identified.
- A tetanus booster shot may be necessary, depending upon the date of the patient's last immunization.
- Calling the Poison Control Center (24-hour hotline at 1-800-222-1222 in the U.S.) allows you to reach toxicology experts who can work with a health care provider in establishing the proper diagnosis and management of a spider bite.
Medically reviewed by Michael Manning, MD; American Board of Allergy & Immunology
"Approach to the patient with a suspected spider bite: An overview"
Viewers share their comments
Find out what women really need.