Simply Nahala

Writer. Photographer. Soul Traveler.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Spider Bite Treatment

Last week, I was working in my yard and was bit by something while cleaning out leaves in a juniper bush. I noticed that my right middle finger was not bending in addition to severe joint pain. I removed my garden glove to discover that my finger and hand were quite swollen. I went inside to wash my hands to see if I could see any bite marks but didn't notice any. I applied lavender essential oil to the area and had my husband take me to urgent care since the pain was moving up my arm. I was also experiencing stiffness and numbness in my hand, wrist, and arm, nausea, dizziness, and neck pain. The area around the swelling turned white.

While at urgent care, I received Benadryl and a steroid shot. Both protocols helped the swelling, but I felt terrible for most of the day. My hand, wrist, and arm hurt, and I had the chills and cold sweats on and off for most of the day. Since the bite, I have not been feeling well at all. I've been feeling very anxious, tired, nauseous, with joint pain. I have increased my fluid intake to flush out the toxins and have continued to apply lavender essential oil to the swelling site. My girlfriend recommended a milk thistle tincture to help flush out my liver that I'm going to try as well. After a week or so, there is still a swollen lump where I was bit, but I'm finally starting to feel a bit better and believe the quick treatment helped with my recovery.

Among the thousands of different spider species in the United States, most are not dangerous to humans and are extremely beneficial to the environment. The three most venomous spiders in the U.S. are the black widow, brown recluse, and the hobo. A black widow spider's venom is a neurotoxin, which affects the nervous system. The brown recluse spider causes necrosis or the breakdown of skin and tissue, the hobo causes similar symptoms of the brown recluse spider.

Black Widow Spider 
A black or brown widow bite is extremely toxic but rarely fatal because the spider only injects a small amount of venom into its prey. They like to hang out in dark places like woodpiles, attics, basements, outhouses, under ledges, rocks, plants, and leaves. They have a black, slate grey or brown body with a red or orange hourglass on its tummy. The hourglass can be anything from a stripe to a dot, a series of dots or no markings at all. The markings depend on the age and location of the spider. Male black widows are half the size of the female, grey or brown, shy and much less aggressive than the female. Signs and symptoms of a widow bite may include, headache, redness, a white area around the bite, swelling, abdominal pain, rash, high blood pressure, nausea, dizziness, vomiting, fever, and joint pain. In extreme cases, an anti-venom may be administered. Although, the anti-venom can cause severe side effects as well. Black widows can be found throughout North America.

Brown Recluse Spider
The brown recluse spider can be difficult to identify due to other similar looking spiders. Unlike most spiders that have eight eyes, the recluse has six eyes arranged in pairs. One pair in the front with a pair on either side with a brown violin-shaped mark on its cephalothorax. The spider prefers dark, quiet places, thus called the "recluse." The bite can be painless but will eventually leave a bull's eye with a blister or red mark in the middle that can cause significant necrosis or tissue loss. Bite symptoms include fever, nausea, and vomiting. The brown recluse is native to the southeastern states.

Hobo Spider
The hobo spider is a relatively large brown house spider with several chevron shaped markings on its abdomen. However, the chevron pattern is not always present, and like other species of spiders, they vary in color and can be difficult to identify. They hang out in homes, in corners, and under rocks. They can be confused with the bite of a brown recluse spider because the reactions are very similar. The bite of a hobo spider is generally painless, but the bite can be serious. There will generally be a red mark where the venom entered through the skin. After 24 hours, the bite develops into a blister that will break open in a couple of days leaving an open oozing ulcer. Symptoms may include a severe headache, nausea, weakness, fatigue, temporary memory loss and vision impairment. Hobo spiders live in the Pacific Northwest as well as Canada.

Natural First Aid For Spider Bites

Try to remain calm to help slow the spreading of the venom to vital organs of the body.

Try to capture the spider so correct identification can be made.

Wash and clean the bite with soap and water.

Neutralize the venom. Spider bites are acidic, so adding an alkaline substance will help to neutralize the toxin. Below are different ways to neutralize a spider bite. Use what you have on hand.

Apply a therapeutic grade essential oil.  I've done some research on the best essential oil to use for     spider bites and everyone uses something different. I generally use lavender, Purification (by Young Living), or Thieves (by Young Living) for insect bites. I use my intuition and what I have on hand. I've been using Thieves on my husband's bite, which is shown in the photo above. Use the essential oils 3-4 times a day as necessary.

Apply a baking soda poultice. Mix 1 tablespoon baking soda and enough water to make a paste. Apply to the wound. Allow to dry then dust off. Apply 3-4 times a day as necessary.

Mash a whole garlic clove and apply directly to the spider bite. Leave on for 5 minutes.

Apply ice immediately and keep lower than the heart to slow down absorption of the venom.

Seek medical attention if you suspect a venomous bite. The elderly, a small child or an individual with a compromised immune system are especially at risk. It also depends where an individual was bit on the body.

Symptoms And Signs Of A Venomous Spider Bite

Puncture marks in the skin
Difficulty Breathing
Swelling and redness or white coloring in my case
Joint Pain
A rash
Chest or abdominal pain
High blood pressure
Fever and chills

Just a quick reminder that most spiders are not aggressive such as the ones mentioned above. Spiders have no interest in attacking humans. They will bite however, in self defense. This recent experience of mine has taught me to be more mindful when rustling around in habitats where insects or animals may live.

These are not FDA approved treatments, and I make no claims or guarantees in regard to treatment. If you have any of the symptoms mentioned above, please see a doctor or hospital immediately. Everyone has a different medical history and home remedies may not work on everyone. 

Take Care!



  1. The whole experience sounds pretty scary. While the trip to urgent care didn't quite get rid of the issues, I'm glad that you got there soon enough to have it addressed and treated before it got worse. Thank you for sharing info on spider bites too! Having knowledge on first aid should prove to be helpful for anyone. -Velvet @ US Healthworks

  2. Blogs are so informative where we get lots of information on any topic. Nice job keep it up!!
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  3. While many spider bites are harmless and result in little more than minor pain and swelling, there are some spiders that can cause serious symptoms. When they are left untreated, these seemingly small bites can cause serious problems. See more

  4. First, you really have to know which species are around the area. This narrows down the antivenom and treatment that you really need, which increases the chance of recovery. In addition to this article, you can learn more from this link as well:

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