Zocdoc Answers

Medical questions & health advice by licensed doctors

"Can a spider bite make me sick?"


I went on a camping trip with some friends and woke up one morning with an itchy spot on my leg. It got really big over the next few days and itch and pussy. I am now very lethargic and want to know if it could be due to a spider bite?


It is hard to say exactly what could have caused this red spot initially. Any break in the skin could have been a source for infection. This would include spider bits, but also mosquito bites and other insects bites as well as any cuts or scrapes you may have gotten.

See a doctor who can help

Find a Primary care-doctors near you

The fact that it was quite itchy might suggest an insect bite as being more likely, although not necessarily. Another possibility would be that it was a irritating plant, like poison ivy or poison oak. Regardless of what started off this process, it sounds like now it has gotten to the point that it is spreading and looking worse. Signs of spreading redness, warms of the overlying skin, and pus like drainage all suggest that you might be developing cellulitis, which is a spreading infection of the skin. The fact that you are feeling poorly is also worrisome. Cellulitis can be dangerous if not treated, so I strongly recommend that you get in to see your doctor right away, as you may need to be treated with antibiotics. If you cannot get in right away to see your doctor, you may want to consider being evaluated in an emergency room.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.