Depending on the species, spiders already bring a host of problems with their bites. People get many symptoms from a bite that range from mild to serious. However, a new layer of problems comes about if a spider bite wound becomes infected.
Despite the fact that the medical community is divided on spider bite infections until totally proven false, it is something that should be treated with the utmost care.
Let’s take a look at what happens with an infected spider bite and what can be done about it.
A Closer Look at Infections
If you are also on the fence about the possibility of spider bites becoming infected, it may prove useful to learn more about how infections work.
We have all probably experienced or seen an infection in action. Images of a wound covered in a yellow substance come to mind. This yellow pus is a sure sign that a wound has been infected. This is only one example of infection in play.
This brings about the question, how does an infection start? Let’s take it from the beginning.
What Are Infections?
Every infection starts in the realm of the microscopic. It finds its roots in germs, which are everywhere around us. While people may think of germs and automatically lump them in the dangerous or undesirable column, this is not the case. There are some germs that are beneficial to people, while others are harmful.
Some harmful ones cause infections. This is where our definition of infections comes in.
An infection is when certain harmful germs attack and grow inside a person’s body and cause a negative reaction. Infections can be very mild all the way to very fatal.
How Do Infections Start?
In order for an infection to occur, it requires three necessary ingredients to be present. These are the source, a susceptible victim, and the transmission of germs.
As previously mentioned, germs are the source of infections once they have invaded a person’s body and grown there. Apart from germs, these also include various viruses and even microbes.
The source of these sources is everywhere around us. They can be found on surfaces, door handles, and even other people.
It is important to understand that these germs and viruses can be found in people even if they are not showing any symptoms. Thus, it makes it easy for these germs to be passed to others because people nearby don’t think that they are sick or infected.
A Susceptible Victim
The second ingredient for an infection recipe is a susceptible victim. This is a person who is not immune to a certain disease. It can also be thought of as a person who has a weakened immune system that germs can easily invade, grow, and create a negative reaction.
The susceptibility of a victim can occur due to many factors. Certain diseases like cancer lower immunities, thereby making it easier for germs to attack.
Consequently, certain medications used to fight several illnesses also serve to lower immunities and increase risks of infection.
At the same time, the wounds on people also make for easy entryways for germs. In fact, anything that makes an entryway is an infection risk.
Transmission of Germs
The final piece of the infection puzzle is the transmission of germs, or how they get into the body.
One of the easiest ones is through simple physical contact. This includes other people’s touch as well as surfaces.
Other transmission agents are splashes from certain agents, like when people sneeze. People can even inhale germs from the air if they are present.
When these three factors are put together, it results in infections. It’s not that hard for these factors to occur at the same time, since germs can be found everywhere.
In the case of spider bites, since the puncture of the fangs creates a wound, it means that it is a possible entryway for the transmission of germs.
An Infected Spider Bite
After everything we’ve learned so far, it’s time to address what happens with spider bite infections.
Like with all infections, it takes time for the germs or viruses to invade and grow within the body. They enter through the bite wound and grow from there.
If you know that you have been bitten by a spider, preferably one that is not fatal and one that you aren’t allergic to, all you have to do is wait and see. Monitor yourself and see if any symptoms worsen.
Worsening of Symptoms
The worsening of certain symptoms is a sure sign that a spider bite is infected. One of the first to look out for is a fever. If after a spider bite, the person gets sick or has the flu, this is a sign of an infection building.
We can also rely on the area of the spider bite to let us know. These include if the area has more pain than usual or if the wound area has gotten bigger.
Finally, the infection may spread and hit other parts of the body. When this happens, muscle cramps will afflict certain parts. First, it may attack the part that was bitten, but it is also likely to spread to other body parts.
Treatment and Prevention of Spider Bite Infections
Spider bites should be treated with the utmost importance. If you know you have been bitten by a dangerous spider, and especially if you didn’t see it at all, the best course of action is to seek medical care.
If signs of infections start to show, this makes visiting a doctor even more important.
The doctor may give you various medications depending on the spider and the accompanying symptoms of the bite.
With infections, the usual medication is antibiotics that help to battle and stave off the germs and viruses.
They may also prescribe pain relievers targeting the pain from the wound, as well as an antihistamine for possible anaphylaxis and antivenom for when a particularly venomous spider bites.
Most spider bites can be treated at home. Steps can be taken to ensure that wounds do not become infectious.
For starters, it is always important to clean the area of the wound once found. Wash the area with soap and water regularly.
Put ice on the affected area. The ice will help to narrow the blood vessels, thereby eliminating the possibility of inflammation.
It may also be good to place a bandage or covering over the wound. This helps in preventing any germs or bacteria from getting in.
Finally, be mindful of carelessly touching the wound or having it brush up against surfaces. This lessens the possibility of germs getting into the puncture wound.
Infect Caution and Care
An infected spider bite is no joke and only serves to add more problems on top of the possible symptoms each bite gives.
While the community is divided on whether or not these bites do get infected, the one thing we can impart and proverbially “infect” others with is an attitude of caution and care towards infections.
If any type of infection is left unchecked, it could introduce serious and life-threatening symptoms to a person.
As always, one of the best things to do when faced with any medical emergency is to learn about first aid practices that can help.
Take CPR First Aid’s Liverpool course now and learn essential skills that can help save lives.