Spider Bite or Scorpion Sting: Care Instructions

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Spider

Overview

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

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The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.