Most insect stings and bites are relatively harmless. Spiders are rarely poisonous and do no harm with the proper medical first aid. Non-toxic spiders do little harm. The spiders, which have venom, leave small puncture sites on the surface of the skin, which then become swollen, red and painful.
The toxin produced by venomous spiders can give rise to nausea, chills, vomiting, headaches, muscle spasms and skin rashes. The most dangerous spiders are the brown recluse, tarantula and the black widow spiders. Certain step-by-step instructions will prevent swelling, pain and itching from a spider bite. Let us now see the basic treatment modalities for a spider bite.
Once you find yourself bitten by a spider, it is best to move away from the insect. Try to brush the spider off or ask someone to remove the spider from you.
Avoid panic and be as calm as possible. A frenzy of activity will speed up the circulation of venom at the injury site and this may cause more swelling and pain. Try to stay still in order to immobilize the area where you have been stung.
If you see a superficial sting or spider debris stuck to your skin, remove it immediately. You may otherwise develop an intense allergic reaction to the spider sting.
If a spider has bitten you on your leg, lower the leg at the time of the sting. Once the sting has been removed, try to elevate your leg to a certain height. Place your leg on a sofa or a bed with pillows underneath. This will help to minimize the pain and make you feel more comfortable.
Icing the area of the sting is one of the best ways to reduce the pain and swelling. This should be done immediately within the first 6 hours. Put ice on the area of the skin for at least 20 minutes every 1 hour. Make sure there is a cloth between the skin and the ice. Never apply ice directly on the surface of the skin. It can cause excessive numbing and skin necrosis.
Like any injury with swelling, the affected area needs to be elevated. Rest the affected part by elevating it. You can do so by placing the limb on a high sofa or a bed.
If you suspect an allergic reaction, take an anti-allergen immediately. Some spider bites can bring on violent allergic reactions that may necessitate the use of steroids and creams.
If you feel an allergic reaction coming on, show yourself to a doctor right away. Take an antihistamine, which will help to reduce the swelling and the irritation immediately. If you find yourself grappling with breathing difficulties and going into anaphylactic shock, get admitted to the nearest hospital.
A local anaesthetic may help to numb the pain especially if it is too excruciating.
Ask one from your family doctor or purchase one from the nearest medical centre.
Calamine lotion will come to your rescue for scarring and itching. A good quality calamine lotion helps to minimize itching and burning and also reduces the scar at the site of the sting or bite. For children, never use any topical steroid cream or hydrocortisone cream without your doctor’s permission first.
Once the swelling has considerably reduced, try applying some warmth for comfort.
Because the bite of a spider can be infectious and can lead to severe skin and tissue damage, it is necessary to protect the person from an infection by administering a course of antibiotics.
A black widow spider bite should be treated by immediately administering a muscle relaxant to the victim. This is done intravenously. The procedure is followed to prevent a spike in the blood pressure of the victim caused by the venom.
Bites from the brown recluse spiders are slightly more serious. They can lead to haemolysis, which leads to skin necrosis. If the tissue surrounding the skin begins to die, the person may need to be evacuated and sent to the nearest hospital.
A tarantula has a broad and shaggy body, which is full of hair. The spider attacks its victim by releasing venom from the hair into the skin. The bite can be potent because it causes adverse skin allergic reactions and can put the person into anaphylactic shock. The routine course of treatment is the use of antihistamines and glucocorticoids.
A tetanus shot is given in most cases of spider bites as a precautionary measure.
Other symptoms like shortness of breath, nausea and vomiting are treated with routine drugs and IV fluids. Severe symptoms will need a day or two of hospitalization until the victim starts to feel better.
Once a spider bite has been identified, the first step that you need to take is to wash the injury down with soap and water. This prevents any infection from occurring, as the spider may be a carrier of germs and bacteria.
Bites from the black widow and brown recluse can be very painful and intense. The pain is sometimes so excruciating that patients are known to writhe and cry in agony. In such cases, taking painkillers should give you some relief. Take Tylenol or a stronger painkiller as the doctor deems fit.
If you have doubts about the type of spider bite, take precautions anyway and tie a snug bandage around the site of the sting. This will slow the spread of the venom to the other parts of the body.
Most doctors will administer an anti-venom medication to reduce or dissipate the venom. In most cases, anti-venom is not required as the bite of the spider is not extremely severe. Fatalities are rarely reported unless you have been grossly negligent.