Although not all spider bites are deadly, they often cause swelling, redness, numbness, itching or burning as a result of a normal allergic reaction. Certain home remedies can be tried to reduce the pain and discomfort for mild, non-poisonous spider bites.
What to do for spider bites: Natural remedies
Applying a cold compress at the site of the bite is an effective first aid measure that has a soothing effect, helping in lowering down swelling. It is also a good remedy for babies.
- Clean the region with mild soap and water and place some ice cubes wrapped in a thin towel on it for about 10 minutes. Repeat at regular intervals for the next 24 hours. (Alternately, use a cloth dipped in cold water or hold the affected area under cold running water)
The anti-inflammatory effect of turmeric, in addition to its antioxidant and antiseptic properties, makes it an effective remedy for relieving the symptoms.
- Combine 1 tablespoon of turmeric powder, a handful of properly washed Indian lilac (neem) leaves, and some water in a blender to prepare a paste and apply it to the affected area. Wash it off with warm water after 20 minutes.
- Take 1 to 2 teaspoons of turmeric powder and mix it with some olive oil to make a paste. Apply on the swollen region, rinsing it off with warm water after 10 minutes.
The anti-inflammatory and anti-itching properties of potato minimize the discomfort, soothing the affected region as well as moisturizing it to promote early healing.
- Grate a peeled potato after washing it thoroughly and put a handful of the shreds into a thin piece of cloth and tie it. Use rubbing alcohol to clean the wounded area and place the poultice on it. Once the potato shreds dry, dispose them off and wash the region with warm water. Repeat till you get complete relief.
A good remedy for lessening swelling, lemon juice also has astringent properties, beneficial for reducing rash and preventing infection from a spider bite.
- Squeeze a fresh lemon and apply the juice at the site of bite with a cotton ball and wash off with lukewarm water after it dries.
- Rub the region for 2 to 3 minutes with a slice of lemon and rinse off after another 5 minutes.
- Crush a peeled garlic clove or extract the juice and mix with lemon juice to apply on the affected area. Rinse off after 30 minutes with cold water. (Bandaging the wound with only garlic slices overnight also give good results)
- Shred a portion of raw cabbage leaf and place the pieces on a bandage. Wrap it around the wound overnight to facilitate quick healing.
- Rub dried, crushed basil leaves on the affected region to reduce itching. (In case of a bite on your arm or leg, keep the affected limb elevated to bring down swelling)
- Extract the juice of peppermint and apply over the bite region, washing it off after 15 to 20 minutes. Repeat the remedy 1 to 2 times to get positive results (You may also use crushed peppermint leaves every 2 to 3 hours).
- Rub the tender area with peppermint oil (1 or 2 drops) twice or thrice a day for getting relief from the pain.
Along with its anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties, the moisturizing effects of aloe vera helps to cure a spider bite.
- Cut a washed aloe vera leaf to take out the thick gel and apply. Keep the leftover gel in the refrigerator and use it in the same way few times daily.
- Make a paste by soaking 1 or 2 aspirin tablets in some water and dab it on the affected area. Let it sit for a few hours and rinse off with lukewarm water.
Baking soda, being a natural alkaline, is believed to neutralize toxins, providing relief from a swollen itchy spider bite.
- Apply a combination of 1 teaspoon of baking soda and 3 teaspoons of water on the affected region for 5 minutes with a cotton ball and wash off with lukewarm water. Repeat every few hours.
Due to the absorption capacity of activated charcoal, the toxins of a spider bite are eliminated from the body, minimizing tenderness and inflammation. It is believed to be a useful remedy even for brown recluse spider bites; though taking medical aid first is advisable to avoid serious poisoning.
- Use warm water to wash the affected region, smear a paste of activated charcoal and some water all over it, then cover with a bandage. Do it every 3 hours the entire day to get rid of the toxins, repeating the next day if required.
- After washing the site of injury with lukewarm water, wrap a moist washcloth scattered with some table salt (sea salt or kosher salt also work) around it for a few hours and then remove. Do it on a repetitive basis.
- Placing used black tea bags is a good remedy to reduce swelling in case of a spider bite on the lips (Chamomile tea bags may also be used for better results)
- Washing the affected area with diluted hydrogen peroxide is good for treating a spider bite, owing to its antibacterial properties.
Over the counter treatments for spider bites
Certain over the counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen (Motrin IB or Advil), naproxen (Naprosyn or Aleve), antihistamine (Chlor-Trimeton, Benadryl), and acetaminophen (Tylenol) can be used to alleviate the symptoms. Apart from an antibiotic cream to prevent infection, hydrocortisone 1% cream, calamine lotion or local anesthetic sprays like Solarcaine containing benzocaine can be applied on the site to minimize swelling, redness, and itching.
As there are several poisonous spiders such as brown recluse spider and black widow spider, report to a doctor if you are unsure of the bite and experiencing severe symptoms like abdominal pain, muscle spasms, and difficulty breathing. Also, it is advisable to seek medical help if the home remedies do not work effectively in reducing the mild symptoms.