Treatments and drugs

By Mayo Clinic Staff

For most people with spider bites, including black widow and brown recluse spider bites, the following treatment measures are all that's required:

  • Clean the bite with mild soap and water.
  • Apply cold packs to the bite, to reduce pain and inflammation.
  • If the bite is on an extremity such as an arm or leg, keep it elevated.
  • Take over-the-counter pain relievers as needed.
  • Observe the bite for signs of infection.

Your doctor may also recommend a tetanus booster shot if you haven't had one in the last five years. Antibiotics may be prescribed if the bite becomes infected.

Black widow anti-venom

If a black widow bite is causing intractable pain or life-threatening symptoms, your doctor may recommend an anti-venom, which may be injected into a thigh muscle or given through a vein (intravenously). Anti-venom can cause serious allergic reactions, so it must be used with caution.

May 21, 2013