DefinitionBy Mayo Clinic staff
Spider bites are usually harmless. In fact, many bites attributed to spiders turn out to have been inflicted by other bugs. Skin infections also have been mistaken for spider bites.
Only a few types of spiders have fangs long enough to penetrate human skin and venom strong enough to severely affect a human being. In the U.S., these include the black widow spider and the brown recluse spider.
Black widow spider bites can cause severe abdominal pain and cramping, while brown recluse spider bites can cause the skin around the bite to die. Both these spiders generally live in undisturbed areas, such as attics or sheds, and don't bite unless threatened.
- Vetter RS, et al. Approach to the patient with a suspected spider bite: An overview. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 12, 2013.
- Habif TP. Clinical Dermatology: A Color Guide to Diagnosis and Therapy. 5th ed. Edinburgh, U.K.; New York, N.Y.: Mosby Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?about=true&eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-7234-3541-9..X0001-6--TOP&isbn=978-0-7234-3541-9&uniqId=230100505-57. Accessed March 12, 2013.
- Spider bites. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/injuries_poisoning/bites_and_stings/spider_bites.html?qt=spider bites&alt=sh. Accessed March 14, 2013.
- Kliegman RM, et al. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2011. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/208746819-6/0/1608/0.html. Accessed March 12, 2013.
- Venomous spiders. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/spiders. Accessed March 12, 2013.
- Vetter RS, et al. Bites of widow spiders. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 12, 2013.
- Vetter RS, et al. Bites of recluse spiders. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 12, 2013.
- Brown recluse spider. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. http://www.osha.gov/OshDoc/data_Hurricane_Facts/brown_recluse_spider.pdf. Accessed March 15, 2013.
- Auerbach PS, et al. Wilderness Medicine. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2012. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/page.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-1-4377-1678-8..00052-0&isbn=978-1-4377-1678-8&sid=1418655681&uniqId=405544036-3#4-u1.0-B978-1-4377-1678-8..00052-0. Accessed March 15, 2013.