Spider bites and scorpion stings often cause minor swelling, redness, pain, and itching. These mild symptoms are common and may last from a few hours to a few days. Some people have more severe reactions.
Home treatment is often all that you need to relieve symptoms.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
How can you care for yourself at home?
- Put ice or a cold pack on the area for 10 to 20 minutes at a time. Put a thin cloth between the ice and your skin.
- Try an over-the-counter medicine for itching, redness, swelling, and pain. Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
- Take an over-the-counter antihistamine to help calm the itching or swelling.
- Put a hydrocortisone 1% cream or calamine lotion on the skin.
- Don't scratch or rub the skin around the area.
When should you call for help?
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
- You passed out (lost consciousness).
- You have a seizure.
- You have trouble breathing.
Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:
- You have signs of infection, such as:
- Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness around the bite or sting.
- Red streaks leading from the area.
- Pus draining from the area.
- A fever.
- You get a blister or sore at the bite or sting area, or the area turns purple.
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:
- You have pain or burning at the area after 2 days of home treatment.
- You have symptoms for more than 1 week.
Where can you learn more?
Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd
Enter P595 in the search box to learn more about "Spider Bite or Scorpion Sting: Care Instructions".
Current as of: November 9, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine