Spider bite wounds: can silver help?

  • Daniela Chrysostomou


The violin spider (Loxosceles parrami) is frequently encountered in Gauteng. The number of patients with spider bites increases in summer. Early treatment with a nanocrystalline silver dressing seems to alleviate symptoms, and lead to faster healing. Literature research has shown that spider bite wounds pose a challenge to practitioners, owing to difficulty of diagnosis and identification of the species. Nanocrystalline silver is known for its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. In 11 cases of suspected spider bites, Acticoatâ„¢ was applied to the affected area. In each instance, clinical history, examination and digital photography were recorded. No positive identification of the spider was made in any of the cases. The evolution of eight lesions was favourable, as they healed with no scar within a week, while the remaining three evolved to a sloughy wound, requiring further wound treatment. In the event of a suspected spider bite, further research is recommended into ways to identify the species, and into the use of nanocrystalline silver as an incipient treatment.

Author Biography

Daniela Chrysostomou
R/N, R/M, PHC Wound Care Specialist
Wound Care