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Wilderness: Black Widow and Recluse Spider Bite (cont.)

Spider Bite Treatment

Patient Comments

If a black widow spider bite, or brown recluse spider bite is suspected, you should go to an emergency department immediately.

  • Wash the bite with soap and water and remove all jewelry. Swelling can occur and will make it difficult to remove some jewelry.
  • Apply cool compresses.
  • Take diphenhydramine (Benadryl) 25- to 50-mg tablets every six hours for the itch.
  • Take acetaminophen (Tylenol), one to two tablets every four hours, for pain. Avoid aspirin, ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), and naproxen (Aleve). The pain resulting from a black widow spider bite is usually so severe that it will require strong pain medications such as opioids.
  • Antibiotics are not helpful unless secondary infection develops.
  • Do not cut into the wound or apply suction.
  • See a doctor as soon as possible.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/18/2014

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Black Widow and Brown Recluse Spider Bite - Symptoms

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Spider Envenomations, Brown Recluse »

In the United States, reports of severe envenomations by brown spiders began to appear in the late 1800s, and today, in endemic areas, brown spiders continue to be of significant clinical concern.

Read More on Medscape Reference »

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