Whether you have experienced one yourself or you have a friend or relative who has suffered from one, chances are you have seen or been affected by a spider bite at some point in your life. If you've been bitten by one of these pesky parasites, you probably find yourself asking the question, "How long do spider bites last?" To learn more about the signs and symptoms of spider bites, how long they last and how to treat them once they have occurred, check out the information that follows.
What are spider bites?
Spider bites can range from small red bumps that are barely noticeable save for the itchy hat tends to accompany them to large, pus-filled sores that are teeming with infection and impossible to ignore. Spiders make their homes in dark, undisturbed areas beneath wood piles, amongst tree leaves and under or around storage boxes in your basement or garage. Because they prefer dry and warm areas, they can infiltrate your home through cracks and crevices in the woodwork and doorways, giving them access to your living space and increasing your probability of getting a spider bite when you least expect it.
A bite from most species of spider feels like a small pinch or pinprick, although bites from dangerous or poisonous spiders are considerably more painful. In addition to a red spot or bump on the skin, the early signs of a spider bite include swelling and stiffness of the affected area, which can spread to the entire body in a matter of hours. If you've been bitten by a poisonous species of spider-such as a black widow or brown recluse-these early warning signs can turn into other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, chills, fever and severe pain as the the venom from the spider bite spreads throughout the body.
How long do spider bites last?
If you've been bitten by a harmless species of spider, the bite will likely be characterized by a sore red spot that is slightly painful to the touch. These spider bites typically only last for two or three days and can be healed relatively quickly with self-care. To treat a minor spider bite, wash the affected area with soap and warm water and apply a cold compress-such as an ice pack wrapped in a thin towel-to the skin to combat swelling. If the bite is particularly itchy or painful, spread hydrocortisone cream onto the affected area and take an over-the-counter pain reliever such as aspirin or acetaminophen. With proper at-home care, the bite will likely disappear and the skin will return to the normal after a period of 48 to 72 hours.
If you suspect you have been bitten by a black widow or brown recluse spider, you will need to seek medical attention immediately as at-home care is not sufficient for treating the bite. Extreme pain coupled with nausea, vomiting, muscle spasms, drowsiness, dizziness, convulsions, swelling and stiffness of the body are the most common symptoms of bites from these venomous species of spiders, and the signs of the bite tend to last significantly longer than spider bites from non-poisonous species. Apply a cold compress to the affected area to keep swelling down while you travel to the local emergency room to seek medical treatment of the spider bite. Because bites from venomous spiders are much more serious than their non-poisonous counterparts, the bites-which are often characterized by fluid-filled blisters or large, infected ulcers-will stay on the skin for several days even after the appropriate treatment is received from a medical professional.