Spider Bite or Scorpion Sting: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

Spider

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 or nurse call line 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. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
    • Take an antihistamine, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl) or loratadine (Claritin).
    • Put hydrocortisone 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 or nurse call line 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 or nurse call line 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 http://www.healthwise.net/ed

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