How to Treat a Spider Bite Naturally
Treating a spider bite with home remedies can be safe and economical if performed properly.
- The Danger of Spider Bites
- Black Widow and Brown Recluse Bites
- Quick Treatment is Essential
- Poultice to Neutralize the Poison
- Drawing Out the Venom
- Daily Care
- Healing Time
The Danger of Spider Bites
Spider bites can be dangerous, and some can be deadly. All spiders are venemous, but not all spider venom is dangerous to humans and animals. Quickly recognizing and treating a spider bite can save a lot of pain later on.
It's helpful to know what kind of spider bit you. The two most well-known venemous spiders are black widow and brown recluse, but there are other dangerous spiders as well.
Black Widow and Brown Recluse Bites
Black widow spider bites are rarely lethal, but are very serious. If you have been bitten by a spider in the widow family, you will quickly experience intense pain. Widow spider venom is a neurotoxin, which affects nerves, causing muscles to go into very painful spasms. You will likely need to see a doctor for muscle relaxants and powerful pain medicines. Hospitalization may be necessary.
Brown recluse venom causes skin necrosis. The first symptom is redness, followed by intense pain at the bite site. A blister may form, which will slough off and leave a larger, deep ulceration. It may appear only as a small pus-filled pimple. You may also experience fever, nausea, listlessness, or a rash.
Quick Treatment is Essential
If you have an ulcerating spider bite, don't wait until it has eaten off a large part of your skin. Starting treatment when it is very small can save your a lot of unnecessary pain and scarring.
Clean the bite thoroughly with soap and water and wipe down the site with peroxide or rubbing alcohol.
DISCLAIMER: This is not an FDA approved treatment, and the writer nor the site make any claims or guarantees in regard to this treatment.
WARNING: If you run a high fever, pain that cannot be relieved by OTC medicines or have violent vomiting, it is best to go to a doctor or hospital immediately. Home remedies don't work for everyone, and it is always better to be safe than sorry.
Poultice to Neutralize the Poison
Mix together 1 tablespoon baking soda, 1 tsp. regular household chlorine bleach and 1 tsp. of water. Use as a poultice over the bite site, trying to only cover the actual bite, not the skin around it. This will burn, so you may want to apply an ice cube to the site first to freeze it. Leave this on for at least 30 minutes. If it is too painful, take it off, reapply the ice cube, then reapply the poultice.
The theory is that the chlorine bleach cauterizes the wound and the baking soda neutralizes the acid-based spider poison. From personal experience, this does seem to stop the bite from progressing much, although it is not an instant cure.
Drawing Out the Venom
To draw out the venom, you will need icthammol. It is sold at CVS drug stores and online. Ichthammol is a black, smelly drawing salve made from oil shale. Put a small blob of ichthammol on the bite and cover with gauze and tape or gauze and a large bandage. Leave this on overnight.
If you can not find ichthammol, plantain leaves can be used to make a poultice to draw out the poison. Plantain grows in most areas of the world, but if it is not common in your area, plantain leaves are available from most health food stores that sell bulk or medicinal herbs.
Every morning, remove the bandage and clean the site with peroxide several times. you will see a spot on the bandage where the ichthammol has drawn out poison and infection. The hydrogen peroxide may burn, but will not be terribly painful. Reapply the ichthammol and re-bandage.
Protect the bandage from getting dirty by wrapping it with an ace bandage or covering with clothing. If the bandage does get dirty or wet, remove it, clean the site, reapply the treatment and a new bandage.
If the adhesive from the bandage irritates your skin, you can use cloth tape. Because cloth tape doesn't hold as well, you may have to wrap it with an ace bandage or use some other method to keep it on.
Following this routine daily, it can take from three weeks to a month for the wound to begin to heal well. Initially, the bite may look as if it is worsening, but if the bite crater is not getting larger, it is simply a stage of healing. Scabs and blisters may form around the outside of the crater. This is part of the healing process. Some bite wounds take more than two months to heal completely, so as long as it isn't getting worse, be patient.
During the treatment, resist the urge to remove the dead, white lump of skin from the inside of the bite site. This wil leave an empty crater in your skin, and make it harder to heal. The dead skin wil be re-absorbed by your body if you simply leave it where it is, and will not affect the healing at all. This may leave a smaller scar than if you remove it.
When the site starts to itch and heal, apply antibiotic ointment and leave the site uncovered whenever possible.