The following is a guest post by Cathy Rider, physician relations coordinator for Via Christi Health.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports spiders rarely bite people unless they are threatened. I have been bitten twice in the last few years. If only I could have that kind of luck when the Powerball hit 240 million! Sadly, I have not cashed in on that windfall.
Believe me, I’m not going around threatening spiders — or any other creepy insects for that matter. For some reason I seem to attract them. I can be outdoors with a group of people and I am the only one being bitten by mosquitoes. I like to think it is because I’m so sweet, but my boys would tell you that is definitely not the case!
Here are some tips from the NIH:
- Wash the area well with soap and water.
- Apply a wet compress to the area.
- Take over-the-counter medication for pain, if needed.
- Consider using an antihistamine for severe swelling.
- Seek medical treatment for small children and adults with severe symptoms.
- If a brown recluse spider bite is suspected, be sure to seek medical attention right away.
Some people have more severe reactions to bites and stings. I fall into this category but, thankfully, not the life-threatening anaphylactic shock reaction. Those require immediate emergency care. Symptoms may include shock; swelling of the throat, tongue, or eyes; coughing; wheezing; difficulty breathing; light-headedness; confusion; and nausea. If you experience this reaction, you need care immediately.
Personally, I experienced a large skin reaction at the site of the bite: swelling, red streaks radiating from wound site, severe itching, pain, low-grade fever, numbness and tingling.
When that happened, I called the Wichita expert on spider bites, Robert Bingaman, MD. He prescribes Dapsone for his spider-bite patients, and recommends Benadryl and Tylenol for pain. I am grateful to Dr. Bingaman and his nurse, Julie, for taking such good care of me. I was bitten over a week ago and my wound is healing nicely.