Most spiders are harmless. Only the black widow and brown recluse, found mainly in the South, have a poisonous bite. A black widow can be identified by its globe-shaped black body with a distinctive red mark on its belly. The brown recluse has a violin-shaped marking on its back.
Neither of these spiders have a painful bite—in fact, their bites feel like little more than a pinprick. But within a few hours, severe pain and stiffness, nausea, and/or fever may set in. With a brown recluse bite, a fluid-filled blister may form at the site.
To prevent a spider bite, don't let your children play near wood or rock piles, where spiders like to hide. Always shake out any blankets, clothing, or shoes that have been left outside.
If your child does get bitten, clean the site well with soap and water. Treat any mild discomfort with acetaminophen.
In the event of a black widow or brown recluse bite, apply a cold compress or ice to the wound to slow the venom's spread, and call your local poison control center or your child's pediatrician immediately.
Whether you're visiting with friends, running a quick errand with your kids, or heading out for the great outdoors for a few days, it doesn't hurt to be prepared and include a small first-aid kit in the trunk of your car. You never know when those little buggers will decide to nip at you or the little someone in your life!