KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Spider bites can cause irritation and make your child itch but they are rarely anything to worry about. The exception is a bite from a brown recluse or black widow spider.

Dr. Ryan Redman, emergency room director at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital shares some signs and symptoms and shares when parents should seek medical care for spider bites.

Signs and symptoms

Pain from a spider bite begins as a dull ache near the wound then spreads to muscles. The pain can moves to the abdomen, back, chest and legs. Mild swelling and a blue-gray mark at the bite surrounded by the lightening of skin color can also occur.

What to do

Wash the area with soap and water. Apply an ice pack or a cool, wet cloth to relieve pain and swelling.

When to seek medical care

Parents should seek medical care if your child has any signs of an allergic reaction including swelling of the face or mouth, difficulty breathing, difficulty swallowing or speaking, a rash forms, or the area begins to look infected (increasing redness, pain, swelling, warmth, or pus).

If you believe the bite is from a venomous brown recluse or black widow spider, you should seek medical care immediately.


  • Make sure garages, attics, and woodpiles are free of spider webs.
  • Teach kids to leave spiders and their webs alone.
  • Shake out blankets or towels before using.

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