Did you know that spiders are found on every continent of the world, except Antarctica?
Unless you manage to escape to the polar region, chances are that you will get bitten by a spider at one time or another. While spiders are not aggressive, they usually bite when they feel threatened or get trapped between a piece of clothing and your body.
If this has triggered your arachnophobia – an unusual, unfounded or strong fear of spiders – be assured that not all spider bites are so grave and definitely not life-threatening.
Most of the spiders’ negative notoriety is just a bad rep, unless you have an encounter with a black widow or brown recluse. If you happen to spot one of these two breeds gnawing on your skin, seek immediate medical help.
For the rest and vast majority of spiders, the venom they carry is not strong enough to cause any severe repercussions and bites can be treated within a week using household remedies.
Also, spider bites look quite similar to a mosquito bite and the symptoms won’t show immediately. You will have to watch the site of the bite and related symptoms in order to differentiate it from a harmless bug bite.
Some of the symptoms of a spider bite include:
- Pain on the bitten area.
- Redness and swelling.
- Stinging or burning sensation.
- Blisters and/or a rash.
If you’re bitten by a poisonous spider, additional symptoms may include:
- Difficulty breathing.
- Excessive sweating and rapid pulse.
- Severe stomach cramping and body aches.
If you are absolutely sure that you have been doomed with a spider bite, don’t worry. We’ve compiled the top 10 home remedies to treat a spider bite and reduce the accompanying pain and itching.
- Method 1: Ice Compress
- Method 2: Baking Soda
- Method 3: Salt
- Method 4: Activated Charcoal
- Method 5: Potato
- Method 6: Aspirin
- Method 7: Manuka Honey
- Method 8: Bentonite Clay
- Method 9: Onion
- Method 10: Tea Tree Oil
Method 1: Ice Compress
Applying ice on a spider bite is the best first aid to get immediate relief from the sting. The coolness of the ice helps bring down the inflammation and reduce burning and soreness. You can bundle up some ice cubes in a flannel cloth and make a cold compress for safe and easy application.
Caution: Do not put ice directly on the bite, as it may lead to ice burns on the skin.
Single-Step Treatment: Apply an ice pack on the fresh bite
- Place 1 or 2 ice cubes on a flannel cloth.
- Bundle up the cloth and use it as a cold compress over the spider bite.
- Place the ice pack over the area for not more than 15 minutes at a stretch.
Apply it every hour for the first 6 hours to bring down the inflammation quickly.
Method 2: Baking Soda
A baking soda paste can also be used to relieve the discomforts of a spider bite. It works by neutralizing the venom and reducing the pain and itching.
Step 1. Make a paste of baking soda and water
- Put 1 tablespoon of baking soda in a small bowl.
- Add 1 tablespoon of water and mix the two well to form a thick paste.
Step 2. Apply the paste on the bite
- Use a spoon to place a dollop of the paste on the bite.
- Give it a light rub and let it sit for 5 minutes.
- Rinse it off with water and pat dry your skin.
Repeat 3 or 4 times to treat the spider bite in a day.
Method 3: Salt
Salt is an age-old antiseptic to treat spider bites. It works by drawing the venom out of the site of the bite and disinfecting the area to prevent any infection. Salt also helps minimize soreness. You can use warm salt water to make a warm compress for instant pain relief.
Step 1. Prepare a warm salt solution
- Add 1 teaspoon of salt to 1 cup of warm water. You can use kosher or sea salt instead of common salt, depending on your preference.
- Mix well until the salt is completely dissolved in the water.
Step 2. Soak a cloth in the solution and use it as a warm compress
- Soak a flannel cloth in the saline solution.
- Wring out the excess water.
- Press the warm cloth against the bitten area, until the warmth dissipates.
- Rewet the cloth and continue to hold it over the bite for 10 minutes.
- The warm salt compress will give you instant relief from the sting.
Repeat the remedy 3 or 4 times a day to heal the bite in 1 or 2 days.
Method 4: Activated Charcoal
If you have been unlucky enough to get bitten by a brown recluse spider, it can be treated with a combination of medical care and this home remedy. Activated charcoal can be used to get rid of the venom quickly. The tine pores in the activated charcoal work as an excellent absorbent, trapping harmful chemicals. It can be used to treat spider bites of both poisonous and other harmless spiders.
Caution: Although you can use this remedy as immediate first aid, you will need to get medical help in order to treat the bite completely. Once the bite has been taken care of by a medical practitioner, you can use this remedy in addition for quicker recovery.
Single-Step Treatment: Apply an activated charcoal paste on the spider bite
- Add 1 teaspoon of water to 1 teaspoon of activated charcoal.
- Mix well and apply the paste on the spider bite.
- Leave it on for 4 hours before you rinse it off. You can cover it with a bandage to keep it in place.
Repeat the procedure 2 or 3 times a day. Depending on which spider stung you, the duration of recovery can vary from 1 or 2 days to 1 week (in the case of a brown recluse).
Method 5: Potato
You can also use a raw potato slice to treat a spider bite. Many people vouch for this remedy. The soothing properties of potatoes help reduce the itching and inflammation of a spider bite. The starchy potatoes also keep the wound moisturized, ensuring faster healing.
Single-Step Treatment: Secure a potato slice over the bite
- Place a slice of potato over the bite.
- Secure it with a bandage and leave it on for a few hours or overnight.
- Remove the potato slice and wash the area with warm water.
- Repeat the process with a fresh potato slice.
Use this remedy for 1 or 2 days, or until the bite has healed sufficiently.
Method 6: Aspirin
Aspirin can also be used as an anti-inflammatory agent to quickly relieve itching and swelling from a spider bite. It also helps neutralize the toxins and promotes faster healing.
Single-Step Treatment: Make an aspirin paste and apply it on the bite
- Put 2 or 3 aspirin tablets in a bowl and add in some water (about 1 tablespoon).
- Let the tablets dissolve in the water to form a paste.
- Apply this paste on your spider bite.
- Leave it on for 3 to 4 hours, then rinse it off with warm water.
Aspirin paste will provide relief after a single application. However, you can reapply the paste 2 or 3 times a day for 1 or 2 days if the bite still feels sore.
Method 7: Manuka Honey
Honey has great healing powers that can quickly heal wounds, treat bacterial infections and also successfully handle a venomous spider bite. For this, Manuka honey tends to work the best. The honey releases hydrogen peroxide on the affected area, disinfecting it and aiding in faster recovery. You can also use Manuka honey to treat rosacea and manage its symptoms.
Single-Step Treatment: Apply Manuka honey on the spider bite
- Smear some Manuka honey on the spider bite. Make sure to cover the entire area that feels sore.
- Leave it on for 4 to 5 hours.
- Wipe it off and reapply.
Apply Manuka honey over the bite 3 or 4 times a day for 3 to 4 days. A black widow bite may take longer (1 week) to heal completely.
Method 8: Bentonite Clay
A paste of Bentonite clay and water can be used as a poultice to treat a spider bite. The natural clay helps remove toxins from the skin and leaves behind a cooling effect that relieves itching and pain from the bite.
Single-Step Treatment: Apply a poultice of Bentonite clay on the bite
- Put ½ tablespoon of Bentonite clay in a bowl.
- Mix in enough water to form a thick paste.
- Apply a poultice of Bentonite clay on the bite.
- Secure the poultice with a bandage and leave it on for 2 hours.
- Rinse it off with water and pat dry your skin.
Use the Bentonite clay poultice 2 or 3 times a day until the bite heals completely.
Method 9: Onion
Onions are another effective and readily available remedy to treat a spider bite at home. The compounds present in onions help neutralize the venom and take away the stinging.
Single-Step Treatment: Rub an onion slice on the bite
- Gently rub a slice of onion on the bite so that the juice covers the affected area.
- Secure it over the bite with a bandage.
- Leave it on for 5 to 10 minutes before rinsing it off with water.
Repeat several times a day until the bite is healed.
Method 10: Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is an excellent antibacterial and antimicrobial agent that relieves itching, stinging and inflammation caused by spider bites. Since tea tree oil is a concentrated oil, it is best to dilute it in a carrier oil before applying it on the skin. You can use either castor or olive oil.
Things you’ll need:
- Olive oil – 1 tablespoon
- Tea tree essential oil – 3 or 4 drops
Single-Step Treatment: Dilute tea tree oil in olive oil and apply it on the bite
- Add 3 or 4 drops of tea tree essential oil to 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
- Mix the two well and apply it on the spider bite.
- Allow the skin to absorb the oil completely.
Reapply the oil blend 3 or 4 times a day. Continue doing so until the bite is completely healed.
- Keep the bitten area elevated to help reduce the swelling and pain.
- You can also take Benadryl for pain relief.
- If you know for sure that it is a spider bite, wash the area thoroughly using a mild soap.
- Remain calm and still to reduce the spread of the venom.