Patient Comments: Spider Bites (Black Widow, Brown Recluse) - Treatments

What was the treatment for your spider bite?

Comment from: reliable, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: September 16

I have received two brown recluse spider bites within 14 months. I have not sought a doctor's care (I did ask a doctor about my bite when in the office for another matter and the bite was okay) and have treated my bites at home. It is a tedious process but well worth the effort. My scar from the first bite is barely visible (the second is still being treated). Once you notice the bite, clean it with peroxide (peroxide is a debride agent) and then apply a paste made with vinegar and water. Use this paste for 2 to 3 days (this helps pull the venom from the wound). Keep the bite covered with gauze so the wound can breathe. After applying the paste I use a mixture of one drop each of the following essential oils: basil, bergamot, clove, frankincense, and rosemary. Then add 5 drops of lavender. Twice a day everyday debride the wound using peroxide and a sharp double edged razor blade. With the razor blade cut away (always cutting sideways...never down into the skin) the dead skin. Keep up this routine until the wound finally has a pink hue to it (this means all the dead skin is gone). After all the dead skin is gone stop using the razor but keep up the oil and peroxide treatment. I put a little Neosporin on the gauze through all the stages to assist in the fight against infection. This treatment has worked well for me and it may not work well for you. But, it is worth a try. You should make sure you do not have an allergy to any of the oils before mixing your treatment oil. The doctor was surprised that I was able to do so well with my bite, but was very reluctant to tell me I did well since they do not like to tell you a home remedy works. You just need to keep a close eye on the wound and be diligent. If you remove the gauze patch and the wound is starting to smell, add 5 more drops of lavender to your mixture or contact your doctor. (Lavender is what was used during the Civil Was to stave off infection.)

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Comment from: Julie, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: October 08

Back in 2003, I was bitten by a brown recluse spider while at a barbeque. I noticed that evening when I returned home my right leg was very sore and a little bit red. The next day, the redness increased and spread with a layer of skin starting to separate from the other layers of skin. My leg felt very hot and sore. I went to the emergency room, my leg was excised, and I was given Penicillin VK, which I had an allergic reaction to. I was then given Levaquin, which aided in the healing. This began an entire year of treatment (excising and antibiotics). I was very fortunate that I got med help within hours of getting bit and probably saved my leg. I have severe scarring from the excising but other than that relatively normal. Best to eliminate spider bites is prevention. Be aware of your surroundings and areas indoors and out, shake out your clothes and shoes before dressing.

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Comment from: angiewhitl, 45-54 Female Published: July 24

I was bitten by a brown recluse in 1999. I didn't know I was bitten, and it took a week before symptoms started showing up. There were hives that covered my hands, feet, my ears, and every part of my body. I ended up in the hospital with the doctors telling me I had Legionnaires' disease! I finally got rid of the hives only to end up in my doctor's office three days later with him telling me that I had to have emergency surgery to remove the poisons that were eating away at my body. I was sent to the hospital within the hour to have a debridement done on my backside that left a 4-inch funnel and two smaller tunnels into my backside. I woke up with about 3 feet of packing and pain so bad I can't describe it. I was off work for three months, was unable to sit, and needless to say, my hips hurt all the time. If anyone tells you it's nothing to worry about when you tell them you were bitten, you tell them to shove it. This woman still carries the scar from that spider (which we never found) .These spiders are very aggressive, and we do get a lot of them into the country by way of our retail imports.

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Comment from: sixty8-whiskey, 19-24 Male (Caregiver) Published: May 29

Treatment for a spider bite. Do not elevate the wound above the heart, this will force the blood to rush to the heart faster, instead keep the wound below to heart, to slow the venom. Spider bites, snake bites, all the same thing. The venom travels through a series of nodes in the body, so about 2 inches above the wound take some string, cloth, doesn't matter and wrap it around the area, not tight enough to cut off blood flow, but not to loose. When you have that, take a razor, or scalpel, knife whatever, and make a 1/8th - 1/4 inch deep incision above, through and below the wound. Take a suction cup, or anything that has suction, and try to suction it out. Do not use your mouth because even if you spit it out your body will absorb the venom. This will not stop the venom but it will slow it down until you get to a medical treatment facility who has the antivenom. Keep the patient as calm as possible, do not excite them or get them to breathe faster, as this will cause the venom to travel faster. Once again this will not stop the venom, it will only slow it down until you get to a treatment facility. If you can, bring the snake, spider, or whatever bit you, to the facility. If not and you have no idea, than do what you can until you arrive at a hospital.

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Spider Bites - Type of Spider and Reaction Question: What type of spider bit you, and did you have a reaction?
Spider Bites - Symptoms Question: Please describe your symptoms associated with a spider bite.
Spider Bites - Brown Recluse Question: Have you or someone you know ever been bitten by a brown recluse spider? Please share your story.
Spider Bites - Black Widow Question: Have you or someone you know ever been bitten by a black widow spider? Describe the experience.

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