The Itsy Bitsy Spider Bite

Wahoo, the sun is out up here in Maine, and I’m currently drinking (more like chugging) a coffee so I can keep up the energy needed to give our site some TLC and still get some quality time in with my friends and family. 


A few days before I was Maine-bound, a spider attacked my mom’s leg and gave it a quick bite.  I don’t think it actually attacked her, but if you listen to her, it sounds like that’s what it did! 


She didn’t see the spider bite her (a doctor said that is what happened) and has no idea when it occurred.  She first noticed the bite when it started itching A LOT.  When she looked at her leg, there were two red dots marking where the spider had bitten. 


By the second day, she had to buy anti-itch cream for the crazy itching and put a band-aid on the bite because it had turned into a small blister-type thing. 


Come day three, she was freaking out because her small blister-type thing had turned into two large fluid-filled bubbles that were oozing.  At the same time, she started breaking out in hives that eventually spread across her body. 


She decided to put OTC triple antibiotic ointment (Neosporin) on the bubbles and took Benadryl every 4 hours for her hives, but the problem was still getting worse.


Then Superwoman arrives (that’s me J!) and tells her she needs to go see a doctor so they can get her spider bite reaction under control.


They cleaned up the bubbles (officially a wound by now) and prescribed an antibiotic (the bite had become infected) and a steroid medication.


Here is my mom's spider bite a couple of days after starting the antibiotic and Medrol dose-pack.
Here is my mom’s spider bite a couple of days after starting the antibiotic and Medrol dose-pack.

The steroid medication they prescribed is called methylprednisolone (it is generic for Medrol), and it comes in an easy-to-use dose-pack.  However, don’t be confused like my mom was when you look at the prescription label on the pack and it says use as directed.  Don’t worry, you didn’t forget what the doctor or pharmacist said about how to take it – the directions are clearly typed on the back of the pack!

The Medrol dose-pack is used because it lowers your body’s immune response to the spider bite.  It is to be taken for 6 days and each day you take one less pill – this is called a steroid taper (don’t worry I will explain a steroid taper in my next article). 

The common side effects of Medrol are increased appeptite, mood swings, insomnia (having a hard time falling asleep), and a feeling of being nervous.

The antibiotic my mom was given is called Bactrim.  She is taking 1 tablet by mouth every 12 hours for 10 days, and she should be drinking 8 ounces of water every time she takes it.  I made sure she knows to finish the whole course of Bactrim even if the spider bite is almost healed because if she doesn’t, the infection may come back.  Also, the bacteria causing the infection can learn how to survive even when a specific antibiotic is used (Bactrim in my mom’s case) – this is known as antibiotic resistance. 

Some common side effects of Bactrim are nausea/vomiting, hives, and rash.  Now that it’s summertime, be careful in the sun because Bactrim can cause your skin to become more sensitive to the sunlight.

My mom’s moral of the story is if you see a spider, run the other way, or just kill it.

If anything changes with the spider bite saga, I will definitely keep you informed.  If you would like to reach me, send an e-mail to 

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