The short version: The crucial part of treating a spider bite is to draw out the venom. You can do this by using baking soda. In a small bowl or cup, mix some baking soda with water until it forms a thick paste. Spread this over the entire spider bite, making a very thick, even lumpy layer of it. As it dries, it will draw out the venom. When the paste has fully hardened, peel it off, then rinse off any residue. Repeat this immediately. Do it again as many times as you can.
The long version. Spider bites are horribly painful and damaging. In summer 2004, I was bitten on the ankle by a spider. I called poison control, and they said there’s nothing that can be done. They told me that if I go to a doctor, all that will happen is that I’ll get an antibiotic to prevent bacterial infection of the soon-to-be ugly, festering, open wound, and I’ll be told to take something for the pain. For some reason, I didn’t think to check for natural remedies. I did what everybody who gets a spider bite does – nothing. Because that’s what medical science tells us can be done.
My ankle turned all kinds of horrible colors, the infected area grew larger, and my ankle became more and more painful. After two weeks, when I could no longer stand the agony of the big, almost black wound, my girlfriend drove me to the emergency room one night. The poison control center was right. The doctor came in, looked at my ankle, and said, “Yep, that’s a spider bite.” I kid you not. He said it in a snarky, dismissive tone, told me to take ibuprofen, and wrote a prescription for an antibiotic. (As I mentioned, the antibiotic in no way helps with the bite. It is simply to prevent the area from becoming bacterially infected.) Indeed, if you look up spider bites on medical sites like WebMD and the Mayo Clinic, they will all tell you – medical science is helpless in the face of spider bites. There is literally nothing that can be done. You must simply bear with the pain, watch the area grow larger and more discolored, and in some cases, live with the permanent damage of tissue death (necrosis) that can occur. (I was spared necrosis, although I still have a scar on my ankle.)
The key to treating a spider bite is actually very simple – you must get the venom out of you. That’s what does the damage. The venom injected by the eight-legged monster sits in the tissue directly beneath your skin, slowly spreading for weeks, causing horrible pain, colorful bruising, swelling, and sometimes permanently killing the tissue. You need to get the venom out! Mainstream medicine throws its hands up, claiming that there is simply no way to do this.
Actually, there is. It can be done with an incredibly cheap, unregulated, common substance that is available at every grocery store and drug store in the world. Baking soda.
In 2011 I got a horribly painful bite on my forearm near my elbow. This time I went searching online for natural treatments, and I found references to the baking soda treatment. I tried it. It worked. I noticed my bite within an hour of it happening. (Unlike ant bites and scorpion stings, spider bites don’t hurt when they’re happening. Sneaky devils.) It was already a huge, ugly-red bruise with glassy areas (the actual points the bite) and hurt like hell. I used baking soda, and instead of weeks of increasing agony, spreading bruising, and a rainbow of colors, the area kept shrinking, the pain decreased, and I was fine within days
The beauty of baking soda is that it absorbs. That’s why you’re supposed to keep an open box in your refrigerator, to absorb the moisture and odors in there. It will do the same thing on an open spider bite. It will pull out the venom under the skin, absorbing it.
So here’s all you do. Get a small cup or a small bowl. Put in some baking soda. Add a small amount of water. You want the mixture to be thick like paste. It needs to stay put on your bite. If the mixture is runny, just add more baking soda until you get a nice, gooey consistency.
Now, take something flat. I use a plastic knife – like for picnics – that can be thrown away after use. Spread the baking soda paste over your entire bite. Your skin will look glassy, it will glisten, in the exact area(s) where the spider actually chomped you. This will likely be part of a larger area that’s already discolored and painful. Spread the paste over that entire area, especially over the glistening wounds where the venom was actually injected.
Don’t skimp! Put on a thick layer. It can even be lumpy and globby. You want as much baking soda as possible on that wound, to draw out the maximum amount of venom.
After a few minutes, the paste will be completely dry. Pull off the dried paste. It will likely be discolored, especially over the bite wounds themselves. My baking soda ended up looking dirty yellow. That’s the venom that was pulled out. Rinse the residue off.
Repeat the process immediately. Then do it again. Don’t waste any time getting that venom out of you. I really don’t know how many times you should do it, right in a row. Probably no less than five or six. Just keep on with it. In an hour, do it some more.
As an aside, I’ve read that you can do the exact same thing with activated charcoal, which is available – usually in capsules – at health food stores. It works by the exact same priciple, absorbing the venom from under the skin. I’m sure it works, but I can’t personally vouch for it. Plus, baking soda is cheaper and easier to find. In fact, you may already have some in your home.
If you want to tell me how things go for you, you can email me at email@example.com. Please note, though, that I cannot give you any advice. I can only refer you to what I’ve written here. But I’d be happy to hear about your experience with this.
Theoretically, this should also work for ant bites, and any other bite that inject venom.
By all means, if you feel that you want to go to your doctor, a clinic, or the emergency room for your spider bite at any point, don’t let me stop you. Just be sure to also use the baking soda treatment.