There are an estimated 40,000 species of spiders in the world that have been identified and named. 3,000 of those are found in North America. Scientists concur that there are so many more species of these arachnids to be identified and named. Nearly all spiders are venomous but for most their venom is not toxic to human beings.
In the 1950s deaths from spider bites were prevalent according to documents kept in records at national poison control centers. This is mainly because of the advancement in medication and health care. Plus indoor plumbing lessened the prevalence of black widow bites. Most spider bites are not really remarkable let alone deadly but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be taken care of.
Spiders that bite
There are only a handful of spiders that produce venom that is extremely toxic to humans and they have the fangs to introduce the venom into the human body. These include the
- Camel spider
- Brown recluse spider
- Wolf spider
- Banana spider
- Black widow spider
The Hobo spider has the ability to bite (quite painfully) but it doesn’t introduce venom into the body.
What does a spider bite look like?
Spider bites generally look alike which is why most people cannot tell the specific spider that bit them just by looking at the bite site. The bites also share common symptoms.
A spider bite is typically characterized by several tiny red bumps on the skin that can be painful or itchy or both. This is the easiest way to identify a spider bite but for a deeper insight into the type of spider that bit you, capture the spider and let an expert identify it for you.
Some spiders like the black widow and the brown recluse spider can cause severe symptoms including swelling of the body, face in particular, widespread itching muscle cramps and even respiratory problems.
What to do with a spider bite
According to spider bite experts one should follow these four steps in case of a spider bite:
- Rest to calm yourself and monitor the bite site
- Ice the area to reduce pain and discomfort as well as alleviate the swelling that typically accompanies the bite
- Compress with a cold compress to keep the pain manageable before seeing a doctor
- Elevate the bitten limb (if bitten on the arm or leg)
You can use over the counter pain killing medication to control the pain but if the site becomes warm to touch or has pus, even after all the above steps, you need to seek medical attention. Don’t worry about the period of time you will take to achieve the following steps since you have several hours to still be able to get medical attention after the first bite. Symptoms can start between an hour to eight hours or even twelve hours after the bite occurs.
A bite, even by the venomous spiders, is rarely life threatening and in most cases is completely treatable. But if in doubt make sure you seek medical attention.