If you've been bitten by a spider that you suspect is a black widow or brown recluse, call your primary care doctor or go to an urgent care center. If your doctor has online services, an option may be to email a picture of the spider to your doctor.
What you can do
To help your doctor understand your symptoms and how they might relate to a spider bite, you can:
- Bring the spider or a photo of the spider with you
- Write down any symptoms you're experiencing
- Write down questions to ask your doctor
Some basic questions you might want to ask include:
- If this is a dangerous spider bite, what's the next best step?
- If this isn't a spider bite, what are possible causes for my symptoms or condition?
- Do I need any tests?
- How long will my symptoms last?
- What is the best course of action?
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may reserve time to go over any points you want to spend more time on. Your doctor may ask:
May 21, 2013
- When did you begin experiencing symptoms?
- What were you doing in the hours before your symptoms started?
- Have your symptoms gotten worse?
- Does anything relieve your symptoms or make them worse?
- Vetter RS, et al. Approach to the patient with a suspected spider bite: An overview. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 12, 2013.
- Habif TP. Clinical Dermatology: A Color Guide to Diagnosis and Therapy. 5th ed. Edinburgh, U.K.; New York, N.Y.: Mosby Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?about=true&eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-7234-3541-9..X0001-6--TOP&isbn=978-0-7234-3541-9&uniqId=230100505-57. Accessed March 12, 2013.
- Spider bites. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/injuries_poisoning/bites_and_stings/spider_bites.html?qt=spider bites&alt=sh. Accessed March 14, 2013.
- Kliegman RM, et al. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2011. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/208746819-6/0/1608/0.html. Accessed March 12, 2013.
- Venomous spiders. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/spiders. Accessed March 12, 2013.
- Vetter RS, et al. Bites of widow spiders. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 12, 2013.
- Vetter RS, et al. Bites of recluse spiders. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 12, 2013.
- Brown recluse spider. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. http://www.osha.gov/OshDoc/data_Hurricane_Facts/brown_recluse_spider.pdf. Accessed March 15, 2013.
- Auerbach PS, et al. Wilderness Medicine. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2012. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/page.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-1-4377-1678-8..00052-0&isbn=978-1-4377-1678-8&sid=1418655681&uniqId=405544036-3#4-u1.0-B978-1-4377-1678-8..00052-0. Accessed March 15, 2013.