What do spiders and the IRS have in common? Many people hate both, and yet we all know they’re necessary. These eight-legged creatures (spiders) play a vital role in the planet’s ecosystem, keeping out pests from your yard and regulating vermin in crop fields.
As a widespread insect, however, some spider encounters do inevitably lead to bites, especially if they happen to be surprised by humans. Hence we’ve compiled six bite remedies using common household materials.
Before we proceed, it’s vital to note that the remedies below apply only to bites from spiders other than the Brown Recluse and the Black Widow and assume you don’t have a serious allergy to spider bites. If you suspect a bite was from either of these spiders or are highly sensitive to spider bites, call 911 or go to a hospital immediately. Bites from either the Brown Recluse or the Black Widow can be serious, if not life-threatening.
For bites from all other types of spiders, you can apply these home remedies, then seek medical advice to speed up healing and lessen the pain.
1. Ice pack
Most other spider bites simply heal on their own, although there could be severe itching and swelling on the bite area. To relieve this, you can apply an ice pack to the wound.
Follow these steps:
Step 1. Clean the wound site with soap and water.
Step 2. Wrap some ice cubes in a small towel or use a store-bought ice pack, placing it on the area for 10 minutes at a time.
Step 3. Repeat as many times as needed.
Note: Never apply ice directly to the wound.
2. Baking Soda
Due to its alkaline nature, baking soda is very effective in drawing out the venom, and doing so will greatly reduce the swelling, itching and pain.
To apply baking soda, follow these steps:
Step 1. Mix 3 teaspoons of water with a teaspoon of baking soda, making a paste.
Step 2. Soak a cotton ball into the paste.
Step 3. Apply the cotton ball on the affected area for 5 minutes at a time.
Step 4. Wash the area with warm water, rinsing off the venom that’s been drawn out.
Step 5. Repeat as necessary until the symptoms are gone.
Table salt, thanks to its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, makes for an effective remedy that draws out the venom and reduces pain and swelling.
To draw out the spider venom with salt:
Step 1. Wash the affected area with warm water and soap.
Step 2. Sprinkle kosher, table or sea salt on a wet washcloth.
Step 3. Secure the washcloth onto the wound like a bandage.
Step 4. Leave it on the affected area for a few hours, then reapply as needed.
It may come as a surprise, but starchy potatoes are good for more than just chips and fries: they actually have anti-inflammatory and soothing properties, with the added benefit of being a natural moisturizer. Using a poultice made from a fresh potato can bring down pain and swelling, as well as promote faster healing.
To use this remedy, do these:
Step 1. Peel a large potato, washing it thoroughly.
Step 2. Grate the potato.
Step 3. Place a handful of the grated potato in a piece of thin cloth; tie the cloth.
Step 4. Use rubbing alcohol to disinfect the wound area.
Step 5. Place the potato poultice on the affected area until the potato has dried up.
Step 6. Remove the potato poultice, then wash the affected area with warm water.
Step 7. Prepare a fresh poultice, repeating as necessary.
5. Activated charcoal
Another highly effective treatment is activated charcoal, as it’s known to draw out and absorb toxic substances.
To use activated charcoal, follow these steps:
Step 1. Mix a bit of crushed activated charcoal with some water to make a paste.
Step 2. Clean the wound area thoroughly with soap and water.
Step 3. Apply the paste on the wound, then cover with a bandage to ensure it stays in place.
Step 4. Remove the bandage after 3 hours; reapply a fresh batch of the paste and a new bandage.
Step 5. Repeat as necessary every 3 hours, until the symptoms are gone.
Minor spider bite symptoms can be relieved with aspirin, but not by swallowing it. Aspirin can neutralize spider venom by being applied directly to the wound, as its anti-inflammatory properties can reduce pain significantly.
To use aspirin for a spider bite, do these:
Step 1. Soak 1 to 2 aspirin tablets in just enough water to make it into a paste.
Step 2. Apply the paste to the wound.
Step 3. Leave it on for around 2 hours.
Step 4. Wash off with lukewarm water.
Step 5. Repeat as needed.
Most spider bites clear up on their own, and often only require that you clean the affected area, avoid scratching and use the common household items listed above. As previously stated, these remedies are recommended for bites from all spiders except for the Brown Recluse and the Black Widow. If you’re unsure if the spider bite was from a poisonous spider or not, or even suspect it was from a poisonous spider, better to err on the side of caution and go see a doctor immediately.
Also, take note:
- Don’t break any blisters that develop on the wound area.
- You can supplement your recovery with non-prescription medicine to relieve the itching and swelling; just be sure to take note of the precautions.
- You can take an antihistamine. If the victim is a child, consult a doctor first.
- If you develop flu-like symptoms or other symptoms, go to a doctor immediately.