Did I get bit by a spider while I slept?
April 28, 2016 10:14 PM   Subscribe

Did my face get attacked by a spider? Please help me figure out what I should do about two wounds on my face.

Got home from work. Slightly drunk, had a nap. Two hours later, I woke up with two marks on my face. One was bloody, very tiny, millimeters wide, and the other, millimeters next to it, is more disconcerting. Not terribly painful, but there is a circle of grey flesh with a ring of white next to it, 2mm at most.

I'm going to the dermatologist on Monday (long weekend) but I'd like to know if I should instead go to the emergency room. Nothing is painful, a bit numb, but I'm feeling fine. All the google image searches I've turned up show nothing relevant, but a spider bite is all I can think of causing it.

The fact that there are two wounds seems to suggest that it was a bite, though I'm perplexed that only one of them appears to have potentially suffered from venom.
posted by GoingToShopping to Health & Fitness (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You do not need to go to the emergency room. Even if it is a spider bite, it's fine.
posted by DarlingBri at 10:57 PM on April 28, 2016

Is it getting bigger, does it feel painful, hot, etc? If so, definitely go to urgent care as soon as possible (not the emergency room).

I disagree about it being okay if it's a spider bite. I've never been the same after reading pjern's experience.
posted by discopolo at 11:33 PM on April 28, 2016 [1 favorite]

You do not want to underestimate infection, especially on your face. If it shows the remotest sign of infection I'd be off to urgent care. I'd not wait until Monday.
posted by goshling at 12:29 AM on April 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

Thanks everyone. No pain. My main worry is that there is grey flesh on my face. I can't imagine that it's already infected, but no part of me has ever been grey, so I am still quite cautious!
posted by GoingToShopping at 12:44 AM on April 29, 2016

Some mosquito bites turn pale. Does it itch? Is the white part raised?

Keep an eye on it if it gets hot or painful get it checked to be safe.

that said I did have what I'm sure was a spider bite. It was red and hot and swollen. The walk in clinic was useless and gave me an antibiotic because he "couldn't be sure it was a spider bite and not an infected hair." I took them for two days but they make me really sick so I decided to stop and just watch it. It eventually turned bruised and purple and took over a month to totally heal. Of course go in if you're concerned but I had something that looked really concerning but turned out fine. I took photos of it every day to keep track of it. Of course you should always take your meds, not a doctor, yada yada.
posted by Crystalinne at 1:25 AM on April 29, 2016

I'd be inclined to go to urgent care to have it looked at. It's your face, and you don't want a potentially spreading infection. The weird grey flesh bit would concern me. Don't panic but go see a doctor.
posted by Klaxon Aoooogah at 1:45 AM on April 29, 2016 [4 favorites]

This sounds to me like a centipede bite I received once, also when I was asleep. I woke up in the morning with two bite marks on my legs - similar to what you describe - with swelling around it. I took an antihistamine and it started to get better after a couple days. This was in Portugal, by the way.

The only way I know its a centipede is because, later that day, the housemaid where I was staying casually said that'd she'd seen a centipede when she was tidying my room and had killed it.
posted by vacapinta at 2:22 AM on April 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

Personally, I would go to urgent care. MRSA is sometimes confused for spider bites.
posted by procrastination at 3:55 AM on April 29, 2016 [7 favorites]

Normally unless the person saw the spider while he was biting, I ususally think people who say they were bitten by a spider just don't want to believe they woke up with a zit. But waking up with wounds where one is bloody and one is gray makes me believe something may have bitten you or you have a skin infection beyond a zit. It can't hurt to see a doc in the box at urgent care but in the meantime, take a close up picture so you can compare in case the skin around it changes before you get in to see the doctor.
posted by cecic at 7:51 AM on April 29, 2016

I would certainly take a picture straight away, ideally with a ruler for scale, and then take an antihistamine and photograph it again hourly. If I can't clearly point to the pictures and say "this is getting better" after 4 hours, I'd go to urgent care.

The part that looks grey is probably the most swollen part, as someone else observed mosquito bites will do this too, because the swelling is so dense it's not getting a lot of blood. You might have gotten bitten twice by something that delivered most of its payload with the first bite. Faces are prone to bleeding because of so many little capillaries, so that is maybe not hugely shocking.

If you have safely used neosporin in the past without any sort of allergic reaction, you can put a dab of it on the bites along with taking an antihistamine. It may not help any, but you can do it.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:22 AM on April 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

We've had some experience with nasty bites getting infected very fast and I'd like to add on top of pictures and ruler, to outline the bite/red area with pen to see how quickly it's growing. Also antihistamine just to rule out stuff.
posted by 58 at 10:11 AM on April 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

People have already given you a bunch of good information. The key is to monitor it for any change, and if it gets bigger, redder, or painful that you should seek out something along the lines of urgent care. Drawing a mark around the borders is a good idea. Or take a picture with a camera phone (with good lighting!). That's what they'd do in the ED. You want to be especially careful if these are close to your eyelids as infections here warrant further workup and can be quite serious.

I would also suggest that your history of drinking alcohol prior to this developing suggests that it might be trauma related. It's easy to fall or hit your face without realizing so it might be gray due to a developing bruise. In general, people tend to overestimate the frequency of isolated spider/insect bites.
posted by ghostpony at 10:57 AM on April 29, 2016

Over the past several hours the grey part has been subsumed and become white/yellow. It now resembles a common zit. Still no pain, the damaged area hasn't grown. I live in Japan and have never seen a spider or anything else in my apartment, so I'm rather curious what's gone down.
posted by GoingToShopping at 12:52 PM on April 29, 2016

So, most spiders can't bite you by just crawling over your skin. When you see tarantulas crawling on people, that's why it's safe. They bite when they can get some leverage from another side, so they usually are in clothes or shoes or whatever, where they can push up against the cloth and then get the necessary force to actually bite you. Says the person bitten by a couple brown recluses.
posted by mrfuga0 at 8:42 PM on April 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

I'm with vacapinta. Centipede. Sounds like the bites I've had. They are quite common and easy to bring in on bedding or futon if you hang those outside.
posted by Gotanda at 2:18 AM on May 1, 2016 [1 favorite]

A few days have passed, I've returned from Golden Week, and everything seems to be going well.

I'm not sure if it's a spider or a centipede or what, and at this point I'm just glad to not be disfigured. There are still two obvious wounds, but they are doing well for themselves.

Honestly I hope it was a spider just because I have pesticide for that. I'll gladly murder a leg-demon though too, should it present itself.
posted by GoingToShopping at 7:18 AM on May 5, 2016

« Older I Forgot My Medication And I'm Traveling   |   Carpal tunnel surgery with infant at home Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.