What Does A Spider Bite Look Like? These Photos Can Help You Identify Different Types

While not many insect bites will require immediate medical attention, there are some situations where you should always seek care:

E- exudative: Recluse bites may form a small fluid-filled blister at the bite site soon after the bite. But, in general, recluse bites are usually dry. If a skin lesion is exuding pus, blood or fluids, that indicates something other than spiders is the cause. A skin ulcer that is oozing or causing local swelling could be from a bacterial infection. The resistant MRSA is very common in human populations worldwide.

Think you can ID a black widow bite on sight? Not so fast: The actual bite looks a lot like any other spider bite. However, they do tend to become more swollen and redder than your general household spider bite, Vetter says.

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E- elevated: If your bite is a raised bump, it may be from a spider, but not a brown recluse. Recluse bites are flat or slightly sunken due to the destruction of underlying blood vessels and tissues.

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Signs of a dangerous spider bite

This spider’s telltale sign is the red hourglass shape on the bottom of its big, round abdomen — the back part of the body. Black widows are shiny and black and about half an inch long. You can find them anywhere in North America, but mostly they’re in the southern and western areas in the U.S. They like quiet, out-of-the-way places like closets, sheds, garages, and woodpiles.

If a brown recluse bite grows in size and becomes painful, your healthcare provider may prescribe antibiotics to prevent infection. If it is unclear that you’ve been bitten by a brown recluse, a tetanus shot may be given as a precaution, particularly if you haven’t had one in the past five years.

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In cases like this, a skin infection is a more likely suspect. In fact, a lesion that is swollen, warm to the touch, or red at the center area could very well be due to a staph infection.

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Numerous Bites

If you are bitten by a spider (and you don’t have any of the symptoms above) you should immediately wash and clean the skin, says Joshua Zeichner, MD, the director of cosmetic and clinical research and an associate professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. “You should thoroughly cleanse the skin, but avoid over-scrubbing or using a harsh soap that can disrupt the skin barrier. The Dove beauty bar is my go-to,” he says.

4) Dr. P. Marazzi / Science Source

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If you are unsure whether a lesion is growing, draw a line around it and monitor for any changes over the coming hours. Record the time so that you can report back to your healthcare provider if, in fact, the lesion is spreading.

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An Expanding Lesion

In the U.S., there are two types of spiders that can cause more severe reactions: the brown recluse and black widow.

The presence of two or more of these signs almost guarantees that you do not have a brown recluse bite. Some of the same signs may apply to other spider bites.

What Does A Spider Bite Look Like? These Photos Can Help You Identify Different Types

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Brown recluse bites typically only cause significant swelling if the bite is on the head or feet. If you have swelling between the neck and ankles, it is not likely to be from a venomous spider.

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Elevation of the Lesion

L- large: Brown recluse bites are known for having dead tissues in the center of the lesion, but most recluse bites do not become larger than 10 cm (2 1/2 inches).

Unless you actually see the spider do the dirty deed, it’s hard to know if it was caused by an arachnid or some other bug. In fact, the vast majority of “spider bites” are actually bites from other insects like fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes, a rash from an allergic reaction, or skin abscesses from an infection, says Justin Arnold, DO, MPH, an assistant professor at the University of South Florida and the medical director of the Florida Poison Information Center Tampa.

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