Though painful, a white-tailed spider bite should generally not be considered dangerous. Some people, particularly those with sensitive skin or allergies, may develop complications following a bite, but the condition is typically not fatal. Itchy skin and mild to severe pain are the most common symptoms of a bite from this species of arachnid.
Also known as the Lampona cylindrata or Lampona murina, the white-tailed spider is usually brown or gray in color. At the end of its abdomen, a small, light gray to white spot can be seen. This spot gives the spider its name. The spider is medium-sized, ranging from half an inch (1 cm) to nearly one inch (2 cm) in length. Native to Australia, these spiders can also be found in New Zealand. Instead of spinning a web, these spiders hunt their prey, which usually consists of other spiders.
Most people who receive a white-tailed spider bite experience a red mark and some degree of pain. The affected skin may swell and become itchy. The reaction to the bite may also include headache, nausea, or vomiting. Some people develop lesions. In the majority of cases, symptoms disappear within a few weeks after the bite.
Bite victims should refrain from using antibiotics or other medications unless directed to do so by a physician. A cold compress to ease the pain and swelling may be applied on a white-tailed spider bite; this is typically the only recommended treatment. Patients should avoid scratching the bite if it becomes itchy, since an infection can develop, as is the case with any skin lesion.
Panic over white-tailed spider bites was once commonplace, as studies linked them to the condition known as necrotising arachnidism. The connection to this condition, which can cause ulcers, has since been disproved through medical study. Isolated incidences of necrotising arachnidism, however, have occurred, though their link to white-tailed spiders has not been established.
White-tailed spiders often live in people's houses. They prefer dark areas, such as discarded clothing or bedding. To avoid such a bite, homeowners may want to refrain from accumulating piles of clothing or towels in the floor. Though spiders are among the most difficult pests to rid from one's home, steps can be taken to reduce the number of spiders in one's home. People can contact local pest control to find out how to get rid of white-tailed spiders, as well as other varieties of arachnids and insects.