This morning I woke up and immediately felt a bump on the back of my neck. Man oh man, some pesky spider must have got me in the middle of the night.
Not only did that mean that a spider was in our bed last night (ew gross!), but it meant that I don’t know what bit me because I was asleep!
Now I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all been bitten by spiders (or any insect) in our lives, and 99% of the time they are perfectly harmless. However, every now again, an insect bite can be cause for serious concern and you need to know what to do should it appear that you are having an adverse reaction to a bite.
Right after I realized I had a bite, I looked at it in the mirror and noticed about how much inflammation there was and the size of the redness surrounding the bite site (it’s when I took this picture). Then an hour later, I checked it again and it looked about the same. One more hour later and the redness had gone down and it was looking fine.
With any insect bite, it’s important that right when you notice it you immediately clean the site with soap and water. Apply some antibiotic cream and then apply an ice pack or cold wash rag. You can take some Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen to help with the discomfort if it is too bothersome.
Here’s the thing… It should get better within a few hours, not worse. If any insect has bitten you, it’s crucial to watch the bite site and notice if anything is getting worse. It’s critically important to understand when you need to seek medical attention.
If you have symptoms beyond the bite, like serious pain in your belly, cramps, throwing up, or trouble breathing, you should seek medical attention immediately. You also should see your doctor if you have an open sore or a bullseye mark, or if the bite gets worse after 24 hours.
Look out for things like pain around the bite getting worse, redness that’s spreading, and fluid coming from the bite. If you can do it safely, take the spider with you, even if it’s dead (Web MD, 2017).
There are two types of spiders in the United States that can pose a problem to you if they happen to bite you; the black widow and the brown recluse.
Black widows are shiny, black, and have the notorious red hourglass shape on the bottom of their abdomen.
Brown recluses (which mostly live in the Midwest and parts of the south) are dirty brown/sandy in color, have a violin shape on their body and have 6 eyes, with one pair in the center and a pair on each side of that.
If you see the spider that bit you, and it appears to have been a black widow or brown recluse, seek medical attention immediately. Do not wait.
Again, for the most part, insect bites are harmless. But keep a close eye on them. If they aren’t looking any better after a few hours, be prepared to seek medical attention.