Spiders can be scary, especially if they bite your child! While most spider bites are minor, a few species can cause dangerous symptoms.
If your child has been bitten by a spider, home treatments are usually sufficient to help the bite heal. But, if you’re concerned about your child’s symptoms or if you’re not sure what type of spider caused the bite, contact us here at First Pediatric Care Center. Margaret Lubega, MD can help ease your concerns and treat a serious bite.
Spiders that can cause serious injury with their bites include black widows and the brown recluse. These two species are prevalent in North Carolina.
A black widow spider has a red hourglass marking on its belly. Symptoms of a black widow bite include redness, pain, swelling, abdominal cramping, nausea, tremors, and sweating.
Brown recluse spiders are about 1-inch long and have a violin-shaped marking on their backs, but this marking can be hard to see.
At first, the pain caused by a brown recluse bite is mild. Your child might then develop fever, chills, and body aches. The area around the bite will turn a deep purplish-blue and may even develop a red ring around it, much like a bull’s eye.
When to be concerned
Signs that a spider bite could be serious include:
- Severe pain at the bite site
- A wound that expands
- Abdominal cramping
- Trouble breathing or swallowing
- Spreading redness or red streaking around the wound
Don’t delay in seeking help at our office or at an urgent care or ER after hours if you notice any of these symptoms. You want to get care within 24 hours of the bite.
Emergency treatments include muscle relaxants, pain relievers, and supportive care. In rare cases, an antivenom may be administered, and your child may require a short hospital stay.
Caring for a benign bite
If your child’s bite seems minor, you can take care of it at home. You should carefully clean the affected area with a mild soap-and-water solution. We recommend applying an antibiotic ointment several times per day to prevent infection.
The bite is likely itchy and may swell slightly. A cool compress applied over the bite for 15 minutes every hour offers relief. Don’t put ice directly on your child’s skin however.
Contact us before giving your child any medications, including over-the-counter pain relievers and antihistamines, to ease the discomfort of a spider bite. If Dr. Lubega gives the OK, give your child an over-the-counter pain reliever as needed. Spider bites may take longer to heal than other types of insect bites.
If your child isn’t up to date on their tetanus shot, Dr. Lubega will recommend that they get one. Plus, she’ll have you watch for signs of infection, including growing redness at the site of the bite, an oozing wound, or fever that develops after a few days.
Spider bites and insect bites can be scary, but they’re usually only minor concerns. But, if you think your child has come in contact with a dangerous spider or their wound shows signs of infection, our team at First Pediatric Care Center in Gastonia, North Carolina, is ready to help. Call our office or click here to book your child’s appointment right now.