Improving medical students

Diagnosing a Spider Bite

Posted by medliorator on March 27, 2008

Poisonous spider bites are extraordinarily rare; wounds blamed on spiders are extraordinarily common. I have seen dozens of patients who thought they had been bitten by a spider, and I have never made a diagnosis of an actual spider bite.

  • Spider bites are exceedingly rare. Studies have shown that the number of spider bites attributed to spiders far exceeds the number of poisonous spiders living in that area.
  • If you did not see a spider bite you, then it is very unlikely that you were bit by a spider.
  • Spiders do not come out at night to bite you. They are, in fact, reluctant to bite, even when provoked.
  • Very few spiders in the US (some would say only one spider, the brown recluse) are likely to cause a necrotic wound.
  • The black widow spider is also a poisonous spider, but it releases a neurotoxin that causes abdominal pain and paralysis. It does not cause a necrotic skin wound.

Spider Bite (?) [The Derm Blog]

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