Black Widow Spider Bite – Pictures, Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

The black widow spider is the most feared of all the spiders in the world. Spiders rarely bite humans, and when they do, most of the time, the bite does not even break the skin. However their bites have been known to cause a lot of itching and rashes. Very large spiders have bites that can be painful, but in other areas the black widow carries the throne as the most dangerous spider in the world.

What does a black widow spider look like ?

The black widow has a half-inch long body, and the name comes from the myth that the spider kills the male after they have mated. The spider is found in all areas of the United States, but mostly it is found in the southern states. There are five species of black widow spiders in the world.

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The two most common species are the Southern black widow, which has a globular abdomen, and is shiny black in color and the red hourglass shape is found at the bottom. The other is the northern black widow, which has two crosswise bars on the underbelly, and a line of red spots down the middle of the abdomen. This species may be brown or black, and may have red legs. The markings may also be white or yellow.

Black widows only hunt at night since they are nocturnal by nature. They can commonly be found in crevices or cracks and corners. You may also find them in areas that are rarely visited, such as storage sheds and outhouses. The male black widow spider does not bite humans and only the female will bite especially if it is protecting its eggs.

What are the symptoms of a black widow spider bite?

The center of the bite look is mostly light red, with a darker hued ring on the exterior. Some other bites  of the same spider may be in the form of pale red marks with little swelling.  The venom of the black widow contains a protein that attacks the nervous system. This protein is said to be the most potent to ever have been produced by any animal, snakes included. Although some people have never had symptoms after a black widow bite, for other the symptoms can be fatal. The site of the bite will begin aching severely, and will throb over a large area even if the bite was only on a small local area. This will happen between 20 – 60 minutes after the bite.

The victim will then begin to feel some muscular rigidity around the bite, and this will spread to other adjoining areas. The victim will then develop abdominal pain, tremors and will fell quite weak. The cramps will affect the large muscle groups such as the shoulders and legs and this can be very painful. In other cases, the victim may vomit, faint, become dizzy, have a lot of chest pain, or difficulties in breathing.

The age and physical condition of the victim plays a large role in determining the severity of the symptoms. This means that children and elderly people will suffer the most severe symptoms. The doctor should be told that the victim was bitten by a black widow, since he or she may think that the victim is suffering from appendicitis or gall bladder inflammation.

If one has high blood pressure, then the symptoms will be exacerbated by the venom, which speeds up the heart rate. Although the symptoms are strong, strong healthy adults will rarely dies from the bite. The elderly and children are the most vulnerable.

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What are the treatment options for the black widow spider bite?

Getting treatment for the black widow spider bite will depend on the severity of the symptoms. If they are severe, the doctors will try to use antivenin and some narcotics. It is important that the victim gets early treatment to alleviate the effects of the symptoms. If the symptoms are not severe, the patient can go to the hospital, but if they are, then an emergency vehicle will be required to start treatment on the way to the hospital.

Home remedies

The victim should be given hot and cold compresses, or can be placed in a hot bath. The victim should also use over-the-counter pain medication to relieve mild pain.

Medical treatment

The doctors will need an extensive evaluation of the physical symptoms that the victim is eliciting. If the bite area is visible, or there was a witness to the bite, then this would help get the treatment started. Otherwise the doctors have to rule out other causes and this will take time.

Antivenin use

The antivenin that is used to treat the bite of a black widow spider is derived from horse serum. Since the venom from all species of black widow spiders is similar, then the antivenin will work in all cases. The production of the antivenin includes the gradual injection of venom in a horse, and the horse produces a serum which is used to make the antivenin. This may be the best option if someone has been bitten by a black widow spider.

Black Widow Spider Bite Pictures

Here are pictures and images of the bite

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