You wake up and find a big red bite on your forehead, or your leg; what so you do?
In our home, we have seen our share of bug bites, mostly mosquitoes and spiders. The culprit is a mystery because we can never find those pesky bugs! There are some basic things you can keep in mind when treating a bite.
Most spiders do not cause significant harm, the bite area may swell and become red. The two main spiders to be careful with in our area are the black widow and the brown recluse. I like to err on the side of caution and always pay attention to the body’s reactions. Do not take a spider bite lightly, pay attention and ask for help if you are not sure. Check with your insurance company to see if they have a nurse advice hotline for after hours support. We have called the 800 number for nurse assistance a few times to ask for first aid support; they have been very helpful! In case of an emergency, call 911. Learn about the spiders that live in your area, it may help to identify that bite. Resources at the bottom of this page.
- Clean the affected area – Clean with soup and water, apply antibiotic ointment; do not scratch!
- Mark the spot – take a pen and mark the area around the bite, this will show you if the bite is getting bigger, if the venom or infection is spreading.
- Apply a cold compress – or run a washcloth under cold water and apply to the affected area. If the bite is on an extremely, elevate it.
- Use an antihistamine – if the bite is itchy, the antihistamine will help; use a cream if the antihistamine makes you groggy and if have to stay awake for classes. You can also take an over-the-counter pain medicatio;if the bite area hurts
- When to see a doctor
- Severe or intense pain in the abdomen or cramping (black widow)
- Fever, chills or feel nauseous (black widow)
- Intense pain (brown recluse)
- Red ring around the bite area, area looks purple or blue (brown recluse)
- Fever (any spider)