Spider bites and staph infections have received a lot of media attention lately. Unfortunately, in the early stages, both of these conditions exhibit seemingly innocent symptoms. The bumps caused by spider bites and staph infection are also strikingly similar in appearance.
Here are the basics of both spider bites and staph infections, and why your life just might depend on a dermatologist's diagnosis.
If you have a rash or blister that is it itchy, painful, and purplish or reddish in color, you might be the victim of a spider bite. Generally, spiders avoid people and will not bite. If a spider does bite you, the wound will likely cause you little more than annoyance. On the other hand, if the source of your spider bite is a brown recluse, black widow, or hobo spider, your wound will be more serious.
How can you tell if a spider bite caused your curious skin condition? Along with the rash or blister, you will also experience muscle cramps, fever, nausea, chills, and difficulty breathing.
A staph infection is a serious skin disorder that, left untreated, can be fatal. One of the most common origins of staph infection is an infected skin boil, which forms when a hair follicle becomes clogged and impacted, usually because of sweat and friction. Open wounds and lesions can also become infected. Staph infections start as itchy, red bumps, and you will likely think nothing more of it. Sometimes, these bumps can erupt and drain on their own, but they can increase in size--as large as a baseball!--as more pus develops and dead skin collects.
If you have contracted the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus, which is responsible for staph infections, you will experience fatigue, muscle aches, fever, malaise, and extreme pain around the infected area. The size of your infected bump can dramatically increase in only a few short days.
Knowing the Difference
In the early stages, spider bites and staph infections are difficult to differentiate. At onset, both of these skin conditions cause itchiness and redness, and the annoyance factor involved is seldom severe enough to convince you to seek medical attention.
The problem is that toxic spider bites and staph infections are both easier to treat at the early stages. If a poisonous spider bit you, your dermatologist might give you an anti-venom and painkillers. Your doctor will also check to see if the wound site has become infected, which, in the end, can lead to a staph infection.
A staph infection, on the other hand, will require lancing and draining. Many staph infection strains are resistant to antibiotics, so if the infection enters your bloodstream, treatment is more challenging. As a result, time is of the essence not only to reduce the pain associated with abscessing and draining the wound, but also to prevent the infection from becoming even more serious.
When in doubt, have your dermatologist, like those at the Dermatology Surgery Center, investigate your bump. These two conditions are difficult to differentiate, but the consequences of assuming that your bump is nothing serious can be fatal.