I’m not a big fan of spiders, but if you work around your home enough it’s inevitable you’ll come across these creepy crawlies hiding in every nook and cranny of your home.
Generally, most spiders aren’t all that dangerous but if you happen to get bitten, the area around the bite is going to be painful, swollen, sore and itchy for several days to come. Of course, if you do happen to get bit by a poisonous one, you may need a tourniquet.
But there is some good news. Spiders aren’t aggressive, and they’re not out trying to hunt you. Most of the time their bites are in self-defense, when you’ve disturbed them by say, sticking your hand into your work gloves where they were happily sleeping, slipping your foot into a boot they’ve claimed as a home, or reaching under a ledge or table where they were previously undisturbed. Spiders don’t want anything to do with you, but if you poke, prod or surprise them, they will bite.
Initial signs of a spider bite
If you’ve ever been stung by a bee or bitten by an ant, a spider bite goes along the same lines. In my experience I’d say spider bites are a bit more aggressive, they hurt more and the rash and irritation last for longer, but the initial pain should typically die down in a few hours. Unless of course it’s a poisonous spider, like a black widow or a brown recluse. Then you really need to be getting yourself to a hospital.
Some people also are extremely allergic to spider venom, and this will present itself rather quickly by swelling and inflammation, potentially even puffing up your face and making it difficult to breathe. Again, if you’re facing these kinds of symptoms, get to a doctor to make sure you’re in the all clear. But if you’re dealing with a typical spider bite, read on.
Clean the wound
My starting point is to always clean the wound. You want to remove any additional venom that may remain on your skin, and ensure the entire area is clean and free from potential sources of infection. Rinse it well with warm water, scrub it with soap, then you can continue with these home remedies to treat the spider bite.
Apply a cold compress
Before you do anything else, my next recommendation is to ice down the bite. As the bite site cools from the ice your nerves will slowly become numb, which will help to limit any swelling while also reducing the itching sensation you’re feeling. I’d apply a cold compress for 10 minutes or so, just don’t put the ice directly on your skin.
Apply activated charcoal
One of the best natural solutions is activated charcoal, as it acts like a sponge. Mix it with a little water to form a paste, then generously cover the bite and surrounding areas. Cover it with a patch, and bandage the entire limb. Your goal is to let the charcoal soak up the toxins, changing the patch and the paste every 2-3 hours (or as needed).
Apply baking soda
If you’ve not got any activated charcoal, baking soda is a great alternative. Mix it with a little water so you’ve got a paste to work with, and apply it to the bite site and surrounding area. You’re only going to want to leave the paste on till it dries, which usually takes 4 to 6 minutes, and then wash it off with warm water. The high levels of alkalinity in the baking soda will counteract the toxins present in the bite, and provide you with a little relief.
Apply sea salt
Salt is one of nature’s best anti-inflammatory compounds, and it will help to clean out the wound, reduce any swelling and also soak up any venom that remains. Mix the salt with a little water until it dissolves, then apply the salt water solution to the bite site and surrounding area. Cover with a small patch that’s also been soaked in salt water, and bandage your arm, changing the salt-water soaked patch every 4 to 6 hours.
Apply grated potato
Potato is a starchy vegetable that works wonders for any types of insect bites. All you need to do is take a few pinches of grated raw potato, making a poultice to apply to the bite site. Cover with a small patch, and bandage your arm. You should change the poultice each time it dries out, which will be every few hours. This is one of the best natural techniques you can use to greatly reduce the itchiness of a spider bite.
Apply crushed aspirin
Crush a couple of pills in a mortar and pestle, and mix in a tiny bit of water to form an aspirin paste. Applied to the site of the bite this paste will quickly reduce inflammation, and also any localized swelling from the bite. You can cover this with a bandage, but I found the results are very similar just leaving it to air dry, and then washing it off in a couple of hours. Then simply repeat as necessary until the bite begins to feel better.
Apply aloe vera
My skin is notoriously light, and I’ve got a healthy aloe vera crop on hand to deal with the ever-present sunburn I get during summer. Not only is it highly soothing, the sap from the plant is antiseptic, which helps to limit the pain and tingling you feel while reducing both the itchiness and swelling. Cover with a patch and bandage, and change every 4 to 6 hours.
Right now, there are probably hundreds of spiders around your home, and it’s inevitable you’ll get bitten if you’re working on a homestead like me. I’ve had spider bites on three separate occasions, and while none of them were particularly pleasant, these home remedies greatly improved how I was feeling, so I could get back to everything else that still needed to be done on our property. Spider bite or no.