Disclaimer: Things discussed in the article are not substitute for professional medical advice. This is just an option that a rational, educated adult may entertain when deciding their course of treatment. If you have an open spider bite in an advanced state of necrosis, are running a high fever, or having pain that is not relived by OTC drugs (over the counter), do not pay attention to this article, but proceed to the nearest medical facility.
Today’s economy is painful. The costs of everything is going up yet our paychecks have yet to see any raise, if we are still lucky enough to have a job. With the costs of healthcare skyrocketing many people are attempting to take natural alternatives to healing injuries now more than ever. While our pioneer ancestors didn’t have all the medical advances we do today, they survived pretty well.
Spider bites are not an uncommon occurrence and most spider bites are non-life threatening to humans. Their stinging bite acts as more of an annoyance than a source of pain and discomfort. If a person is confident in assuming that they have not been bitten by a dangerous spider and their health is in good shape, some try these following DIY (do-it-yourself) remedies for the minor reactions cause by the itching, and swelling typically resulting from the spider bite.
- Ice/Cold Compress: Applying ice or a cold compress to the wound site provides instant relief to the swelling that accompanies the spider bite. It is important to keep in mind that prolonged exposure to ice may lead to skin irritation or tissue damage. Ice should be kept on the wound no more than 10 minutes at the time.
- Basil: The basil leaf works as a natural pain reliever. One may apply a paste of crushed leaves to the spider bite to reduce inflammation or may eat several fresh basil leaves to reduce pain.
- Turmeric Powder and Olive Oil: Turmeric is member of the ginger family which has long been touted for it’s ability to act as an anti-inflammatory. Mix a paste of turmeric powder and olive oil together and apply to the spider bite. The turmeric should work to reduce the swelling and the olive oil will soothe the itchiness. It can be used throughout the day as needed.
- Lavender Oil and Vegetable/Olive Oil: Lavender is know for its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. Combine equal parts lavender oil with vegetable or olive oil. The lavender will work on reducing the swelling and pain while the vegetable/olive oil works to keep the skin supple and less prone to itching.
- Charcoal: Charcoal has long been used as an absorbing agent. Still used in hospitals, charcoal can be pumped in the stomach to absorb an overdose of medication. Charcoal can be found at the local market. Make sure that you are not purchasing instant lighting charcoal, for those briquettes have been soaked in a flammable additive. Pound the charcoal to dust and mix with water to form a thick paste. The paste should neutralize the sting and draw out the venom from the spider bite.
- Potato: Potatoes assists in drawing the venom out of the wound. Slices of raw potato may be laid across the spider bite or the potato can be grated and soaked in milk. Binding the grated, milk soaked potatoes with a loose wrapped bandage relives the pain and burning as milk and potatoes have enzymes that neutralize the venom.
- Garlic: Garlic has both antiseptic and antibiotic properties. The garlic may be mashed and mixed with olive oil to form a paste which can then be spread on the spider bite. Another option is to thinly slice the garlic and bind it to the spider bite with a loose bandage. The garlic may cause some stinging but it will help to draw the venom out.
- Bleach and Baking Soda: Mixing 1 tablespoon of baking soda, with 1 teaspoon of standard chlorine bleach, and 1 teaspoon of water, dip a cotton ball into the solution and apply it to the bite, but not to the surrounding areas. This solution will burn so it is advisable to apply ice to the site beforehand. Allow the solution to sit on the spider bite for at least 30 minutes. The theory behind this DIY cure is that the bleach will cauterize the wound while the baking soda neutralizes the venom injected by the spider. This is one of the more painful remedies, but it does appear to halt the expansion of the wound area.
- Ichthammol: Derived from dry distilled sulfur-rich oil shale, Ichthammol goes by the proper name of Ammonium Bituminosulfonate. Typically used to treat skin disease such as contact dermatitis, ichthammol works to draw out the poison as it softens the skin.
The methods above are remedies found in nature and are not considered harmful or dangerous. At worst, if the homemade remedy does not work, you have lost a few days of healing. However, some individuals rely on mini stun guns to take care of their spider bites. These proponents believe this method is of the most importance when attempting to draw spider venom from the wound, in particular from the Brown Recluse.
The mini-stun gun connects with the skin and gives several short, one second blasts of electricity to the wound site and the surrounding inflamed area. In essence, the stun gun sears the flesh, causing it to weep. According to Stan Abrams, MD , the basis for the mechanisms behind the stun gun is that “the current will influence the hydrogen bonds of the enzymes, destroying their secondary and tertiary structure,” and “the high voltage, low amperage current applied will reduce metal ions and zinc, copper, magnesium, iron, or calcium ions, which are firmly bound to some venom enzymes and are mandatory cofactors for these enzymes” and “the electric particles interfere with the membrane as well as the positive charged polypeptides, decreasing their cytotoxic properties.”
Remember, as it was noted at the head of this article, these remedies mentioned are not to be used in place of medical advice. It is always in your best interest to contact a physician so you might be well informed of the possible risks involved when choosing to self-medicate.