Black Widow Bite – Symptoms, Risk, Treatment

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What Is a Black Widow Spider?

The black widow spider belongs to the Latrodectus species and is present in temperate climates. They are prevalent in Africa, Asia, North America, and South America. A bite from a Latrodectus species is extremely painful. It may cause swelling around the bite region.

Its venom contains neurotoxins that alter the nervous system. Neurotoxins can get into the nerve cells, which can damage or overwhelm the nerves and cause extreme pain.

Symptoms

The American Association of Poison Control Centers states that most bites from black widow spiders are poisonous. First of all, only females bite. Furthermore, venom can be valuable to spiders. The spider chooses whether or not to inject poison and, if so, when. The black widow saves its venom to use the time it believes its life is at risk.

A bite that is not venomous may not trigger symptoms. The signs of a nasty bite might not be apparent at first but may appear later. The following symptoms can occur, along with swelling and pain around the bite site.

black widow spider bite symptoms

There may be a delay of several hours:

  • Itching or rash
  • severe stomach pain
  • muscles that are tight and cramped in the shoulders, stomach, and the back
  • severe chest pain and tightness.
  • nausea and vomiting
  • headache
  • sweating
  • tears
  • trouble breathing
  • Increased blood pressure

The patient should call emergency medical assistance immediately. OSHA warns that pain persists for between 8 and 12 hours, although other symptoms may last a few days.

Identifying a Black Widow

The spider is a shiny black body with a reddish-orange hourglass-like design on the bottom of her stomach (for some, it might be a swath of dots) and can be around 1 1/2 inches long. Males are about half the size and usually are gray or brown.

The black widow’s web traps mosquitoes, flies, and bigger prey species like grasshoppers, which the widow feeds, which is advantageous to humans since it reduces the number of nuisance insects.

Risk Factors and Complications

A bite from a black widow could be poisonous; however, many people suffer from no or few medical complications. In 2013, there were reports of more than 1,866 bites from black widows at the American Association of Poison Control Centers. It can be life-threatening to:

  • Children
  • older people
  • people with health issues

Treatment

Cleanse the black widow bite using the use of soap as well as water. A cream for antibiotics is a great option to clean the wound. Since redness and swelling are an early reaction due to the venom, applying an ice pack to the wound can relieve these symptoms.

The physician recommends that calcium gluconate be administered intravenously in the most difficult situations. It will help neutralize the effects of the toxin. Acetaminophen is a highly-recommended medication to ease pain.

black widow spider treatment

It recommends monitoring closely, and a follow-up examination is required for those who received the antivenom injection. The possible signs are pain, fever, the joints, and swelling lymph nodes.

Antihypertensive and muscle relaxants are administered when a person exhibits signs suggesting the need for these medications. In the event of hospitalization, it is imperative to observe the patient, particularly for an underlying reaction.

Also, it is important never to suck out the poison. It’s not just that this won’t work, but it can cause trouble for the person initiating the procedure.

Prevention

The black widow spider lives in cool, dark areas like garages and sheds. They usually bite when stunned. To minimize the risk of being bitten, ensure that the storage areas are clean. Outside, it would help if you stayed clear of fallen tree branches and other places.

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