Spider Bites: What You Need to Know

If you are prescribed oral antibiotics, you need to take the drugs as prescribed and to completion even if you’re feeling better. If you don’t, the infection may return. Worse yet, a more resistant strain may emerge and be harder to treat.

The first steps are the same for all spider bites, even those from a black widow or brown recluse. Clean the area with soap and water and put on some antibiotic cream. Then take a cloth and wet it with cold water or wrap it around some ice and put that on the bite. If you were bitten on your arm or leg, raise it up. You can take acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain and an antihistamine for swelling.

No matter what type of bug bite you have, it is good to know what bit you. Learning to identify a bug bite by how it looks and feels will help you know whether to treat the bug bite at home or seek immediate medical care. Here are 13 bug bites and what they look like:

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With that said, certain MRSA strains are harder to treat and may not respond as quickly or as well. In such cases, you would need to see a healthcare provider if:

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Mosquito Bites Can Cause a Serious Illness

If you have known allergies to bug bites, talk with your physician about emergency care. Some people with severe allergies to bug bites need to have allergy medicine, including epinephrine (such as an EpiPen), with them always.

You may get prescription drugs to ease the pain and relax your muscles. There’s an antivenom for black widows, but it’s rarely used because some people have a serious reaction to it. And it’s almost never really needed. It’s saved for more serious bites in the very young, very old, or people who have other health issues.

Is It a Spider Bite or MRSA Staph Infection

Spider Bites Pictures And Symptoms

Some tick bites can be dangerous because the insects may carry disease. Black-legged ticks, formerly known as deer ticks, may carry Lyme disease, and dog ticks can spread Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Up to 30,000 cases of Lyme disease are reported each year in the United States.

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Ant Bites and Stings Can Become Infected

A bite from a poisonous spider, like the black widow or brown recluse, is extremely dangerous and can cause a severe reaction. The black widow’s bite, which shows up as two puncture marks, may or may not be painful at first. But 30 to 40 minutes later, you may have pain and swelling in the area. Within eight hours, you may experience muscle pain and rigidity, stomach and back pain, nausea and vomiting, and breathing difficulties. You might not have seen the spider that bit you, but always seek medical attention immediately if there’s a possibility you could have been bitten by a poisonous spider. Call 911 or America’s Poison Centers at 800-222-1222.

The brown recluse spider is poisonous and usually lives in dark and unused spaces. Some people feel a small sting followed immediately by a sharp pain, while others don’t realize they’ve gotten a brown recluse bite until hours later. Four to eight hours afterward, the bite may become more painful and look like a bruise or blister with a blue-purple area around it. Later, the bite becomes crusty and turns dark. It’s also worth noting that this type of spider is found in several Midwestern states, western parts of some Southern states (including Kentucky, Tennessee, and Georgia), and the central Southern states (including Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Missouri) — and they’re rarely found outside of these areas, according to the University of Kentucky.

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How can you prevent bug bites? Here are some tips from the CDC:

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Black Widows

Mites do not usually spread disease, but their bites can irritate the skin and cause intense itching. Itch mites usually feed on insects but will bite other animals, including people. The bites usually go unnoticed until itchy, red marks develop that may look like a skin rash.

Both MRSA and spider bites can lead to serious complications. With spider bites, complications are related to how venomous the particular spider involved is and/or how vulnerable or sensitive you are to the venom. With MRSA, the concern is related to the dissemination (spread) of the infection internally.

MRSA is an antibiotic-resistant bacteria that can be found in lots of community settings. If it’s not treated, it can enter the bloodstream and cause life-threatening infections.

Spider Bites: What You Need to Know

Spider Bite Pictures, Symptoms, and Treatments

This article explains the key differences between MRSA and spider bites, as well as other common bug bites. It also describes treatments and complications of MRSA and when it is time to see a healthcare provider.

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Number of Bumps

Not all MRSA infections need to be treated with antibiotics. And by definition, MRSA is resistant to some of these drugs. Still, there are several that can be used alone or in combination to treat the infection.

By Daniel More, MD
Daniel More, MD, is a board-certified allergist and clinical immunologist. He is an assistant clinical professor at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine and formerly practiced at Central Coast Allergy and Asthma in Salinas, California.

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