Spider Bite Treatment Testimonial
If you can’t find the spider and don’t see what bit you or have multiple bites, it’s probably a TIC, Bed Bug, or something other than a spider.
Unfortunately, many Doctors have not had to treat spider bites, and information on identification and treatment is often confusing. Below, you’ll find a number of comments left by visitors from around the world; this information may help your doctor with the treatment process.
One visitor, Gerald, stood out and offered some great information on treating spider bites; I’ll start with his story and go from there. Feel free to leave comments; I’ll post them on the site.
I could write a book about spider bite treatment, but I’ll get to the bottom line. Thanks to our rural Northwest Arkansas farm lifestyle, my wife and I have been bitten by Brown Recluse spiders several times each over the last 20-plus years.
Fortunately, we knew a quick, safe, and economical cure for them, so treating it was a 10-minute distraction, making it little more than a mosquito bite. We learned it from our vet long ago after my first bite went poorly.
In our area, farm vets combine a high incidence of personal Brown Recluse bites with a lot of medical knowledge. Who could be more motivated or equipped to find the cure? Vets fix themselves by injecting 1/10th CC of Dexamethasone (cortisone) divided into two or three subcutaneous shots right around the perimeter of the bite-inflamed area.
[Dexamethasone is a high-potency steroid used to decrease swelling and inflammation]. He recently said he had used it to treat himself six or more times in his career, plus a few times on his kids and wife. My wife and I together tally about a dozen bites treated that way.
I once asked a farm vet in another town where we take horses how he treated his spider bites, and he said the same thing. Over the years, about two dozen of our friends with bites tried our advice with complete success.
That is almost 50 bites given this treatment that I know of, and every single one started to mend immediately. There were no failures and no negative consequences. Several times a friend told his doctor what he had learned and what he needed to be done, and the doctor did it, usually saying something like, “Sounds reasonable to me.
Not all react that way, though. I know the way I’ve been doing it doesn’t work well, and there is no risk with such a tiny dose. There is no downside to trying it.”
None of the bites caught early needed antibiotic treatment, and more than half got none. If a doctor is doing the injections, they usually prescribe antibiotics too. If it gets to the open lesion stage, you need them.
Treatment in the first 48 hours is always best, but it also works much later. The worst case I’ve seen cured was a woman sharing a hospital room with my mom about 10 years ago.
She had a bite on her foot and had been in the hospital for about two weeks when we met her. The lesion was about 3 inches across, and about every other day, the doctor unwrapped it and scraped the necrotic tissue out to her heart, rendering screams.
He and a consulting doctor had begun to discuss amputation. We told her and her husband and two adult kids of our experiences and advised them to consult some out-of-town doctors. They found a doctor in Springfield, MO, who used cortisone to successfully treat several cases.
When her then-doctor refused to listen, confer with the other one, or release her, they took her out anyway. About two months later, we got a long letter profusely thanking us for butting in. She was healed up and on her feet again, feeling we probably saved her foot and maybe more. No doubt that took more than a tenth of a CC.
Other kinds of cortisone might work, but both vets preferred Dexamethasone. It is thin like water so that it can be injected through tiny insulin needles, an important matter when injecting a super tender spot three times.
A tenth of a CC isn’t much. It is about 1/8th of an inch of a wooden pencil eraser, then split that in thirds per injection. That is a small fraction of a normal systemic dose given for arthritis and such, so risks are also tiny. Visit MedlinePlus and read the precautions to know what to advise your doctor about, like pregnancy or fungal infections.
It’s not new knowledge. The bad first bite I mentioned was in the eyebrow. I had a small bump there, but I thought it was a pimple. I also had a bad sinus headache I tried to treat with hot compresses and a muscle massager on the cheek to break it loose.
On the third day, I had to take a flight some states away to deal with another’s emergency. I woke up with one side of my face badly swollen, but I had to go.
The pain and swelling worsened as time passed, and it was two more days of frantic work before I could get to a doctor without causing another crisis. By then, I was a mess, but recovery began after a big cortisone shot (unsure what kind) in the hip.
The doctor said he usually injected around the bite but couldn’t because cortisone injections near an eye can damage it. That doctor knew and discussed site injections with me back then, well before we happened on the topic with our vet. Back then, I didn’t grasp the rarity of that doctor’s knowledge of spider bites or my good fortune in going to him for treatment.
Combining my doctor’s information with that of the vets taught us an effective treatment we used occasionally but had no clue, so few others knew it, but others told us about their past or pending treatment methods. Many we headed off, but some we couldn’t. About 1996, the web came along and gave me a peek into how pervasive ineffective treatment was.
The web was slow, and blogs were rare, but all the medical “fact” sites said the “antibiotic only, cut open, scrape, suffer, and live with the crater” was the only effective spider bite treatment.
Most shared verbatim wording. I decided to write up what I knew and get it out there somehow, but I wasn’t sure how, so I procrastinated.
Today I’m re-motivated because this month, a friend had a recent spider bite on his finger treated the old way, and it turned into the typical horror story. I was shocked. That led me to begin searching the web for sites that gave good treatment advice to refer others to.
Twelve years after I looked last time, nothing is better. Only the volume of horror stories has grown. Twelve years ago, a letter like this might have altered our current reality. Well, maybe by 2020.
There is very little mention of treatment with cortisone or especially site injection. A couple of visitors on this site, like #67, received systemic cortisone treatment, and it fixed them, but that’s about it.
By telling you this, I am not advocating self-medication! I suggest you ask your doctor how your bite will be treated; if the old way is mentioned (cut and scrape), then offer the information on this page.
We found that the emergency room and after-hours clinic doctors seem more open-minded and have steered several friends in this direction who later reported that their ER doctor said, “Sure, that is how we treat spider bites anyway,” and not just locally.
For example, a relative was helping move someone to Atlanta. While loading, he was bitten on the stomach. Days later, the night before they were leaving at 6 AM, I saw him, and he was worried about it. I told him to go to an ER along the way or once there and what to ask for.
In Atlanta, they injected around the site, saying that was their normal treatment, and he was healed in a few days. If that fails, ask a farm vet how he treats his bites and what doctor he suggests.
I’m not a doctor, and I’m not giving medical advice beyond “it’s OK to shop for the right doctor,” but this treatment approach needs exposure, discussion, and trials.
I believe widespread use could eliminate untold suffering and costs to people like earlier writers of these blogs. If you have any questions, I’ll watch this site for discussion.