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Black Widow Spider bite – Pictures, Facts, Symptoms, Treatment

The black widow spider is probably the most popular and dreaded among the 30,000 kinds of spiders present on earth. A lot of symptoms ranging from itching to skin rashes are generally blamed on spider bites. However, a spider bite is usually not the cause of such ailments, as most spiders usually do not bite humans and some types of spiders are incapable of puncturing the human skin.

Black Widow Spider – Facts

The black widow spider is not really big and can grow up to half an inch in length. The spider gets its name from the false belief that the female black widow spider kills its male partner after mating. Black widow spiders and other types of spiders can be primary found in the southern states of US, but can also be seen across the United States. Five species of black widow spiders can be found in the US, but the northern black widow and the southern black widow are the most common.

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The northern black widow can be identified by the presence of two crosswire lines on the lower part of the abdomen and a series of red spots on its back, down the middle. The spider may be brown in color with red legs and the markings can also be either white or yellow in color

The southern black widow has a rounded black and shiny abdomen with a unique hourglass mark on its belly.

Black widow spiders are nocturnal creature and usually active at nighttime. They tend to hide in cracks and dark corner and generally avoid homes. They can however be found in garages and outhouses. Black widow spider bites are caused only by the females, when they get disturbed or when they are protecting the eggs.

Black Widow Spider Bite Symptoms

  • A black widow spider bite results in the release of a protein poison which affects the nervous system of the victim. This toxin is considered to be one of the most powerful of poisons secreted by an insect. Some individuals may experience mild symptoms of the black widow spider bite, while others may be severely affected by the venom.
  • A black widow spider bite will generally result in acute pain at the affected site. There may or may not be any localized reactions. Most of the symptoms of black widow spider bites commence 20 minutes to an hour post the bite
  • Tremors, abdominal pain, generalized or local muscle cramps of extreme nature and weakness may follow the initial symptom of local pain.
  • The large muscles such as the back and the shoulders are normally affected by the black widow spider bite, leading to severe pain
  • Severe instances of black widow spider bites may produce additional symptoms such as chest pain, fainting, nausea, dizziness, breathing problems and vomiting.
  • There may be elevation of the blood pressure as well as the rate of heartbeats. A rise in the blood pressure is considered to be one of the most severe medical complications of a black widow spider bite.
  • The reactions to a black widow spider bite and its severity generally depend on the physical condition of the affected individual and his/her age. Older adults and children are more at risk to develop serious symptoms of the black widow spider bite. Also, even though the bites do not result in fatalities, children and elders are more vulnerable to developing life-threatening reactions.

Black Widow Spider Bite Treatment

  • Individuals who are sure that they have been bitten by a black widow spider, should immediately seek medical attention. It is important to note that local health care centers may not be equipped to treat serious cases of black widow spider bites. Hence, it is important to visit the emergency room of a hospital when one is sure of a black widow spider bite.

In case, an individual is not sure of the type of spider that has caused the bite, then one may follow the below mentioned first aid steps:

  • Gently and thoroughly wash the affected site with soap and water.
  • Keep the affected site in an elevated position. If the spider bite has occurred in an arm or a leg, then one may tie a tourniquet or a bandage above the affected area. The bandage should not be too tight, else it will result in complete stoppage of circulation.
  • Pain killer medication may be taken to get relief from the pain. Children should not be given aspirin. One may also be able to get relief by the application of ice packs over the affected spot.

In case of a black widow spider bite, the emergency treatment at a hospital will include:

  • Administration of antivenin to overcome the effects of the venom released via the black widow spider bite. It is important to note that antivenin can result in serious allergic reactions such as anaphylaxis. Hence, the doctor will test for allergies before administering it.
  • Pain killer drugs will also be prescribed to get relief from the intense pain.
  • Muscle relaxant injections may also be given to ease muscle pain.

Black Widow Spider Bite Pictures

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