5 Steps to Treating Spider Bites in Children
By Karleia Steiner
While many insect bites are harmless, a spider bite can become a concern for any parent. When a spider bite is suspected on a child, it is important for parents and caretakers to be aware of the various kinds of reactions that may be encountered. For instance, when symptoms are confined to the area of the bite, a local reaction occurs. This type of local bug bite will cause some discomfort, but usually does not present a significant medical threat. However, there are serious signs to recognize for what are termed systemic symptoms. Below are five steps to treating spider bites in children.
1. Immediate Care
The main goal in treating localized spider bites on children is to provide immediate comfort and relief. Apply a cold compress or use frozen packs or ice when an insect bite is discovered. This can control and shorten the localized reaction significantly. Apply an itch relief ointment, calamine lotion or 1% hydrocortisone cream after the cold compress has begun to take effect.
2. Recognizing Symptoms
One of the more common spiders is the black widow, whose bite is often painless. The first symptom is usually pain and cramping in the abdominal area, which could become hard to the touch. Breathing often becomes more difficult, along with nausea, shaking and vomiting. When this occurs, seek medical attention immediately.
If at any time the child experiences hives or external swelling, this can also be an indication of a systemic allergic reaction. Since in some cases this can become serious quickly, contact a doctor immediately.
3. Serious Symptoms
More serious spider bite symptoms involve increased difficulty breathing that may include wheezing. In rare cases, the child may become lightheaded and dizzy, perhaps fainting. Consider dispensing a child’s dose of Diphenhydramine (known as Benadryl) to temporarily relieve allergic reactions until medical help can be obtained.
4. Prepare for a Doctor Consultation
Regardless of whether immediate medical care is necessary, it is important to discuss the situation with the child’s physician. Have as much information available as possible to assist the doctor in deciding if further treatment is necessary. For instance, try to determine what type of spider was involved and gather information such as when, how and where the bite occurred.
If the spider bite is only a localized reaction, treatment will probably be focused on the area affected. The doctor will also check if dead tissue or infection exists. Systemic reactions can likely require an adrenaline injection. Sometimes, the insect bite may require drainage which can be done on an outpatient basis.
If the doctor suspects that the child is allergic to insect bites in general and a fear of future severe reaction exists, the doctor may recommend an emergency kit containing epinephrine injectors. Parents and care givers should be sure that they thoroughly understand when and how they should be used.
While hives are not always a medical emergency, it could be that the child may be more likely to experience a severe reaction to future bites. Therefore, take the opportunity to engage a service such as Green Mango Pest Control to avoid repeat episodes. A professional service such as this understands how to eradicate infestations of poisonous spiders such as the more common Black Widow and Brown Recluse Spiders, to the more exotic species. While the more unusual spiders are generally not located around the home, it is possible that they could take up residence in a suitcase while traveling.
Bites from poisonous spiders are a real fear for many parents, but knowing the symptoms and how to respond will provide the knowledge necessary so that the proper remedy may be accomplished expediently
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