Although the idea that spiders come indoors when it gets cold is a myth, many people believe they see more spiders in their homes in the late fall and winter time and become concerned about spider bites. There are several species of poisonous spiders in the U.S. and Canada, such as the black widow, brown recluse, and the hobo spider of the Pacific Northwest. Scientists say most "spider bites" are misdiagnosed. However, if a person does experience a spider bite, there are ways to treat these bites naturally.
Identifying poisonous spiders
Possibly the most important thing to know when trying to identify a potentially poisonous spider is that house spiders almost always stay indoors, and outdoor spiders almost always stay outside. Spiders are "cold blooded," and go dormant in the winter.
According to experts at the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture at the University of Washington, there are 137 species of outdoor spiders in the Washington area, 25 species of indoor spiders, and only eight kinds of spiders that go in and out of homes and other buildings. The ratios are similar in other areas of the United States.
The black widow spider, with a red hourglass marking on the underbelly, and the brown recluse spider, with its "upside down violin" shape on its upper back, are the most poisonous spiders for people in the United States.
Another poisonous spider, the hobo spider, is common in the Pacific Northwest and Canada. It also can live indoors or outdoors, and is difficult to identify because it looks similar to the common house spider. It has several rows of chevrons, or "V-shapes" pointing toward its head.
Scientists say most "spider bites" are misdiagnosed
Both the University of Minnesota and University of Iowa Extension Services state that most spider bite cases are caused by something other than spiders. Only 60 out of over 3,000 different kinds of spiders cause bites bad enough to require medical attention. Most spiders are very shy and will only bite in self-defense.
Spider bites leave two small puncture marks on the skin. Usually, the site of the spider bite will become red, and becomes quite painful within moments to a few hours. The skin can swell and discolor or bruise. The area remains painful for up to two or more days. A small pimple or blister can develop from the spider bite wound.
The medical journal Canadian Family Physician states that many people misdiagnose spider bites, and the only way to be sure is to see the spider in action. Doctors need to know which kind of spider was involved in order to provide accurate treatment. Dermonecrosis, or death to skin tissue, is rarely cause by spider bites worldwide, and doctors should consider more likely causes for this condition.
How to approach a spider bite naturally
To take action on a spider bite naturally, consider wiping the area clean with povidone-iodine (betadine), then applying bentonite clay as a drawing agent. Bentonite clay has been clinically proven to draw toxins such as poison ivy out of the skin, according to the April 2001 issue of Skin Therapy Letter.
Pau d'arco may be a helpful herb, both as a poultice and as a tea or tincture. Pau d'arco is noted clinically for its ability to reduce sensitivity to painful stimuli and swelling, according to BMC Pharmacology.
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