Note: If you get bitten by a poisonous spider like a black widow or brown recluse spider, seek immediate medical attention. Also, get medical help if you are not sure whether the bite was from a posionous spider.
Spiders do not feed on humans like some biting insects. Spiders usually bite as a defense mechanism. Most spider bites, medically known as arachnidism, are not a matter of concern.
They can cause mild symptoms like limited inflammation, redness, pain and itching. Depending on the type of spider, the symptoms may last a few hours to several days or even weeks.
However, bites from poisonous spiders like black widow or brown recluse spiders that generally live in undisturbed areas are dangerous.
In such cases, it is recommended to get medical help, especially if you experience symptoms like severe swelling, intense pain and stiffness, muscle spasms, fever and chills, abdominal pain, vomiting, difficulty breathing and lightheadedness.
At times, the bite may not appear to be serious immediately but may become severe after some time.
When treating spider bites, the main goal is to neutralize the bite and get rid of any toxins in the body. Many effective home remedies can ease the symptoms and promote healing. If symptoms remain after a few days, see a doctor.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for spider bites.
1. Ice Pack
When bitten by a spider, the first thing you need to do is clean the wound with mild soap and water. Then, apply an ice pack on the affected area. The cold temperature will help numb the nerve endings, soothe the itching sensation and reduce swelling and inflammation.
- Wrap a few ice cubes in a thin towel and place it on the affected area for 10 minutes at a time. Repeat as needed during the initial 24 hours.
- You can also put the affected area under cool running water for a few minutes.
Note: Never put ice directly on the skin.
2. Baking Soda
Baking soda is an effective treatment for spider bites. This alkaline substance can help draw out the venom, which will help reduce pain, itching and inflammation.
- Mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda with 3 teaspoons of water.
- With the help of a cotton ball, apply this mixture on the affected area for 5 minutes.
- Wash the area with lukewarm water.
- If the discomfort persists, repeat after a few hours.
Salt is another easy remedy due to its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. It can effectively draw the venom out of a spider bite to promote quick recovery. In addition, it reduces inflammation and redness.
- Wash the affected area thoroughly with lukewarm water.
- Sprinkle some table salt on a wet washcloth. (You can also use kosher or sea salt.)
- Bandage this washcloth to the affected part for a couple of hours, then remove it.
- Reapply as needed.
4. Activated Charcoal
Activated charcoal is another treatment option. It has an innate absorption property that helps draw out and remove toxic substances from the body. After the toxic substance is out of the body, inflammation and tenderness reduce automatically.
- Make a paste of some activated charcoal using a little water. Apply it on the affected area after cleaning it thoroughly with warm water. To keep the paste in place, put a bandage over it. Repeat every 3 hours for the first day to neutralize the toxin. If needed, follow the remedy the next day also.
- You can also take activated charcoal capsules, after consulting a doctor.
Another easy and effective method is to use a starchy potato. It can bring down the itching and inflammation, largely due to its anti-irritating and soothing properties. In addition, it keeps the affected area moisturized to encourage quick healing.
- Peel 1 large potato and wash it thoroughly.
- Grate the potato using a grater.
- Put a handful of the wet potato shreds into a piece of thin cloth and tie it securely.
- Clean the affected area with rubbing alcohol, then put the potato poultice on it.
- Leave it until the potato begins to dry.
- Discard the old potato poultice, and clean the area with warm water.
- Reapply a fresh poultice, repeating until the symptoms are gone.
You can also relieve minor symptoms of spider bites using aspirin. It can neutralize the venom to promote quick recovery. In addition, its strong anti-inflammatory properties can effectively control swelling and inflammation.
- Soak 1 to 2 aspirin tablets in a little water to form a paste.
- Apply this paste on the affected area.
- Leave it on for a couple of hours, then wash it off with lukewarm water.
- Repeat 1 or 2 more times, if needed.
This spice is a natural painkiller containing anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and antioxidant properties. It can promote recovery by reducing pain, swelling and inflammation.
- Mix 1 to 2 teaspoons of turmeric powder with enough olive oil to form a paste. Apply this paste on the affected area. Allow it to sit for 10 minutes before rinsing it off with warm water.
- Alternatively, mix 1 tablespoon of turmeric powder, a handful of thoroughly washed Indian lilac (neem) leaves and a little water in a blender to make a thick paste. Apply it on the affected area, leave it on for 20 minutes and then rinse it off with warm water.
Repeat either of these remedies a few times.
8. Lemon Juice
You can also use lemon juice to keep itching, swelling and inflammation at bay. Being a natural astringent, it also helps quickly dry out skin rashes caused by spider bites as well as prevent infection.
- Extract the juice from a fresh lemon and apply it on the affected area using a cotton ball. Let it dry, then rinse it off with lukewarm water.
- Alternatively, you can take a piece of lemon and rub it against the affected area for 2 to 3 minutes. Wait another 5 minutes, then rinse it off.
Follow either of these remedies a few times a day.
9. Aloe Vera
You can also use the gel of aloe vera for treating spider bites. This gel has natural antiseptic as well as anti-inflammatory and soothing properties that can help reduce pain, swelling and itching. It can even aid in faster healing by keeping the affected area moisturized.
- Thoroughly wash an aloe vera leaf.
- Slit it open to extract the gel.
- Apply this fresh gel on the affected area.
- Reapply a few times a day for a few days.
Note: Store the remaining gel in the refrigerator.
This herb exhibits anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties that help relieve pain, swelling and inflammation. It even soothes and calms itchiness caused by spider bites.
- Rub freshly extracted peppermint juice on the affected area. Leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes before rinsing it off with cool water. Repeat once or twice more, if needed.
- Alternatively, apply 1 or 2 drops of peppermint oil directly on the affected area 2 or 3 times a day.
Note: Always do a spot test before applying peppermint oil directly on skin.
- Monitor the bite for a couple of days to keep a check on how well the symptoms are healing.
- Try to memorize the appearance of the spider that has bitten you. This will help in the treatment plan.
- To prevent spider bites, wear a long-sleeve shirt and pants, a hat, gloves and boots when handling stored boxes or firewood.
- Be extra careful when cleaning out sheds, garages, basements, attics and crawl spaces.
- Inspect and shake out gardening tools that are not in use for a while.
- Keep spiders out of the house by installing tight-fitting screens on windows and doors.
- Discard old boxes, clothing and other unwanted items from storage areas.
- Remove piles of rocks from your garden area.