There are a lot of spider sightings in Iowa lately — and a bunch of spider bites. Kathy Jacobitz , managing director of the Regional Poison Center in Omaha/Council Bluffs, says this is the busy season for nipping spiders.
Jacobitz says: “We start to see an increase in the calls in late summer and in fall, so I don’t know whether they’re more common but the calls do start to pick up, as well as bee stings. In the fall, we really see an increase in the bee stings.” While some spider bites can be fatal, those are quite rare. Jacobitz says a majority of spider bites are more of an annoyance than anything else.
“Most spider bites are not serious and they usually heal well on their own. Symptoms would be some mild pain, redness, some mild swelling at the site. Typically those symptoms are going to go way with in 24 to 48 hours,” Jacobitz says. For those bites, Jacobitz says to wash the area and use an over-the-counter cream or Benadryl to treat the symptoms. She says the Brown Recluse spider bite may need more care.
She says, “Initially there may be just mild pain. There might be a little redness or itching but then those, within 24 to 72 hours of the bite, would go on to usually form a small blister at the bite area. It almost takes on what’s characteristically called a bulls-eye appearance and it gradually spreads out and gets more and more red and painful.”
Jacobitz says those bites can take several months to heal. She says to make sure and keep your doctor posted and he may prescribe antibiotics. The tollfree hotline to the Iowa Statewide Poison Control Center is 800-222-1222.