Treating Spider Bites in Children

Spiders may seem scary, but bites from children are rare and rarely dangerous. Indeed, spiders prefer solitude and will only bite if they feel threatened (arachnophobes, rejoice!).

If your child gets bitten by a spider, expect a similar reaction to a bee sting, such as redness and swelling, and help them feel better with these suggestions for identifying and treating spider bites. spiders in children.

Spider bite symptoms in children

The most common signs of a house spider bite include redness, itching, pain, and skin lump. However, some spiders are dangerous. Probably the most infamous South African spider species are the potentially deadly black button spider and the less dangerous brown button spider.

Black Button Spider

The abdomen of these spiders is black with crimson bands of longitudinal stripes. As the spider matures, it molts and loses its red pattern, which is frequently replaced by white spots. Adult spiders are completely black. Egg sacs are rounded and smooth. The males are tiny, measuring between 3 and 6 mm, while the females have a body length of 7 to 16 mm.

Good to know: There are 31 species of black-buttoned spiders in the world, eight of which are in Africa.

brown button spider

The maroon knob is distinguished by the orange to red hourglass under its spherical abdomen, which can be gray, white, brown, or black. The upper abdomen bears circular geometric decorations, and the joints of the brown legs are dark. The egg sacs are pointed and white. Males have a body length of 4-7mm while females measure 8-14mm.

Good to know: Button spiders are very common in South Africa and usually inhabit quiet, dark places. Most spider bites occur when spiders are disturbed in their hiding place. The button spider commonly found in sheds and around window sills is the least poisonous button spider.

violin spider

Violin spiders are widespread in South Africa, but human interaction is rare. Typically brownish with dark patterns and a violin-shaped cephalothorax, these insects have a violin-shaped head and thorax. The violin spider extends between 8 and 19 mm. Most attacks occur at night when the victim is sleeping. Their venom is cytotoxic, meaning it damages tissue. The bites are often minor and painless, but within hours the site develops a blister and skin necrosis only.

Typically, skin lesions are misinterpreted as spider-borne cytotoxic envenomings. Before mislabeling it as spider bites, other reasons should be ruled out. However, untreated bites can lead to infections, sepsis, and necrosis, requiring surgery to remove dead tissue. Go to the doctor quickly if you observe skin lesions or ulcers that are not the result of a recognized accident and that are getting worse. A cream or a course of antibiotics may be necessary.

Typical symptoms of spider bites

  • Pain (which can start within the first few hours after being bitten)
  • Itching
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Sweat
  • Redness (or purple tinge) around the bite
  • Pain around the bite

Treating Spider Bites in Children

If a spider has bitten your child, you may be able to provide home treatment. Here are some steps to speed up the healing process and prevent infection:

  • Wash the area with soap and water several times a day until the bite is healed.
  • Apply antibiotic ointment to your child’s hands and keep them as clean as possible.
  • Apply an ice pack or a cool, damp cloth to the affected area to relieve discomfort and swelling.
  • An age-appropriate dose of acetaminophen or ibuprofen will help if your child complains that the bite hurts or is harder than normal.

When to be worried after a spider bite

If your child develops signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, pus, or warmth around the bite, contact your doctor or go to the emergency room.

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