The spider in ‘Incy Wincy Spider’ rhyme is all cute and never bites. But the real spiders are different and some of them do bite. Spiders are everywhere. Hence it is not possible to keep your child completely away from them. Spiders do not purposely harm children. Once a child spots a spider, they will want to examine how the spider crawls, makes a web, eats, and whatnot. While doing so they might end up getting bitten. So, you must know how to spot spider bites in children and treat them.
More than 40,000 species of spiders have been identified to date. Except for a few, all spiders are poisonous. But not all bite. The fangs of most of the spiders are short or delicate, preventing them from penetrating through human skin.
In some cases, the poison from a spider bite is not strong enough to cause significant damage. One can treat that as a normal insect bite. But some venomous spider bites can be deadly.
Spiders don’t bite until they are threatened and only do it as self-defense. As children are curious, they always try to catch insects. They would put their feet on the spider or hold it between their hands or trap it in a box. This threatens them.
Spiders mostly live in places that are not cleaned regularly. The two spiders that you should look out for are the black widow and brown recluse. Even these spiders are not wandering just anywhere in your house. So, until your kid is going through old stuff in the basement, and disturb them, they won’t get bitten.
There are two types of spiders, namely, black widow spiders and brown recluse spiders. Let’s understand more about them:
As the name suggests, black widow spiders have a black shiny hairless body and red hourglass shape on their bellies. The size of black widow spiders ranges between 3mm to 13mm. They live in quiet areas and are not aggressive. They attack only when disturbed.
If ever bitten by a black widow spider, rush your child to the hospital. The toxins released by these spiders can harm a child’s central nervous system.
Brown recluse or violin spiders are brown and have dark violin shape mark on their head. They are one inch long and are found in basements, closets, attics, or under piles of wood, rocks, or leaves.
Most spider bites are not that painful and resemble a bee sting. Commonly, home spider bites symptoms include a bite mark with:
Other than that, the symptoms can vary depending on the types of spider bites.
You might be able to see puncture marks on the site of the bite (It can be very small). The symptoms may look like other illness and include:
You might not see the reaction right away after the bite from the brown recluse spider. It can become noticeable after hours. The symptoms may look like other illness and includes:
Spider bite’s allergic reactions include:
If you see the above-mentioned symptoms after a spider bite on a child, seek medical help right away.
Take your child to the hospital. The healthcare provider will check the bite area and other symptoms. Always listen to what your child has to say about the bite. If they can describe the insect (to identify if it was or not a spider), it will help.
If by any chance you can capture the spider without harming yourself or your kid, do so. It can help get the proper treatment right away.
Treatment for spider bites will differ depending on the child’s health, age, symptoms, and the severity of the bite. You can do below mentioned things while you wait for medical help:
Depending on the severity, your child may require – muscle relaxants, pain relievers, and other medicines. Hospitalization may be advised.
There is no proper medicine for bites from a brown recluse. Depending on the severity, your child may require – administering medications, or even surgery of the infected area. Hospitalization may be required.
You should call a doctor or get medical help for your kid right away if:
Prevention is always better than cure!
Spiders may be intriguing but spider bites are not. Keep your child away from the spider as much as possible. Make sure to follow the prevention tips to avoid spider bites. Keep antibiotic creams handy. If the symptoms are severe seek medical help right away.
Dr Chetan Ginigeri is an experienced Pediatric Intensivist with national and international training. With 15 years of experience, he is one among very few Intensivists in India trained to take care of children who need/had organ transplants. He has been responsible for coordinating the Pediatric Organ Transplant program.Read more.
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