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Spider Bite
December 2002

Q. For the last few days my hands have been very itchy and they feel kind of numb and tingly, mostly on my palms and sometimes on my feet too. The symptoms come and go. There is no swelling or rash or redness, and the skin looks fine. I was bitten by a spider several times on my legs about a week ago. Is it a reaction to the spider bites or could I have some kind of skin problem?

A. Spider bites can indeed cause many problems. The most serious can result from the bite of a Black Widow or Brown Recluse spider, though these may not be present in your area. Less serious spiders can still cause problems as any puncture to the skin can become infected, and there is often significant tissue reaction to the chemicals released by the spider.

The numbness and tingling suggest a nerve irritation; a check by your doctor would be advisable. Less severe reactions can often be managed with anti-histamine or anti-inflammation medicines, and antibiotics if an infection is present.



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