Not dying from spider bites is probably a good idea. The good news is, when a spider bites a victim, the vast majority of the time, they recover fully. Spiders are just not as deadly as most people may think. On the other hand, I have to admit, I hate the creepy little bastards. The thought of a spider crawling on my skin is unsettling to say the least. It is the best way to get the hair to stand up on the back of my neck. In a survival situation, after the SHTF, you may find yourself spending more time in wooded areas or basements, all areas where you may encounter our eight legged friends more often. What do you do if a dangerous bug bites someone in your party?
The first thing to keep in mind is that a great number of spider bites occur from spiders that don’t carry medically significant amounts of venom. The jumping spider is the most common spider bit that occurs in the United States. The bites are usually painful and itchy, and cause significant swelling and redness. Victims of these bites should simply keep the area clean and bandaged until the bite heals. The spiders of most concern in the United States, however, are brown recluse and black widow spiders. Most recluse spider bites are minor with little or no necrosis. However, a small number of bites produce severe dermonecrotic lesions, and, sometimes, severe systemic symptoms, including organ damage. Rarely the bite may also produce the systemic condition with occasional fatalities. Black widow spider bites may cause muscle cramps, but no one in the United States has died from a black widow spider bite in over 10 years. Aside from that fact, it is necessary to seek medical treatment should you become a victim of a dangerous spider bite; doctors typically administer anti-venom to patients presenting with spider bite symptoms, as this will ease recovery.
If bitten by a brown recluse or a black widow, do the following.
- Cleanse the wound. Use soap and water to clean the wound and skin around the spider bite.
- Slow the venom’s spread. If the spider bite is on an arm or a leg, tie a snug bandage above the bite and elevate the limb to help slow or halt the venom’s spread. Ensure that the bandage is not so tight that it cuts off circulation in your arm or leg.
- Use a cold cloth at the spider bite location. Apply a cloth dampened with cold water or filled with ice.
- Seek immediate medical attention. Treatment for the bite of a black widow may require an anti-venom medication. Doctors may treat a brown recluse spider bite with various medications.
Other dangerous spider bites come from various species around the world. The Brazilian wandering spider is a large brown spider similar to North American wolf spiders in appearance, although somewhat larger. It has a highly toxic venom (the most neurologically active of all spiders), and is regarded (along with the Australian funnel-web spiders, whose bites deliver slightly less venom, but are faster acting) as among the most dangerous spiders in the world.
The mouse spiders of the genus Missulena are a type of primitive burrowing spider found primarily in Australia. There have been no recorded deaths due to mouse spider bites, as these spiders typically administer a “dry” bite, with little or no venom. When a mouse spider does deliver a venomous bite, funnel web spider anti-venom has proven effective.
Tarantulas may be the largest and most fearsome looking of all spider species. Almost all North American tarantulas, however, aren’t venomous enough to inflict life threatening bites. By nature they tend to be docile, and would rather avoid humans altogether. There are some species of bird spiders in Asia however, that locals blame on at least one human fatality.