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Spider Bite, Hives or Shingles?

A Spider Bite in Peru Leads to a Mysterious Rash

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Updated February 01, 2010

Spider Bite, Hives or Shingles?
Photo (c) Jose Luis Balarezo Gardiol

After Jose felt a spider bite him in Peru, he developed a rash with muscle pain that seemed to be relieved by an antihistamine (a Peruvian equivalent of Claritin). The raised rash does resemble hives in the pictures provided by Jose, but the rash also resembles another common condition: shingles.

Jose was not able to see a doctor to treat this rash. He describes it as traveling from the site of the original bite on his back all the way around to his chest. That one-sided line is typical in shingles, but could also be an allergic reaction.

There is really no way to tell what Jose has without seeing him in person. Shingles -- also known as herpes zoster -- comes from the Varicella-zoster virus, the same virus that causes chicken pox.

If Jose did have an allergic reaction, allergic reactions to bug and spider bites can be deadly if they develop into anaphylactic shock. Usually, if anaphylaxis is going to develop it happens fairly quickly after the bite. Bee stings are commonly considered the most likely to lead to anaphylaxis.

The next image shows how the rash is raised away from the surface of Jose's skin.

Have a spider bite you want to share? Submit a picture of your spider bite.

Want to talk about spider bites? Ask others and see more bites on the First Aid Forum.

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