Black Widow Spider Bite

Symptoms, Reactions, Treatment, Venom Potency

Bite of The Black Widow Spider

The venomous bite of a black widow spider can be dangerous and the victim should seek medical attention, particularly when extreme reactions are experienced. The venom of a black widow spider is 15 times stronger than a rattlesnake. Fortunately, the widow only injects small amounts of venom. There are only 2 spiders in America that pose significant danger to humans and pets. The Black Widow and the Brown Recluse.

The black widow is the most venomous spider in America. Although black widow bites are rarely fatal, the bite can become serious and potentially fatal. Severity of a widow bite depends upon the dose of venom received, health condition and age of the victim. The very young, elderly, and those with severe health issues are most at risk. People with very low immune systems with high blood pressure have increased risk.

Reactions and Symptoms of Black Widow Bites

Venom of a black widow is a neurotoxin which attacks the nervous system. Some human victims may only experience minimal affects while others will have more severe symptoms. Symptoms could include nausea, dizziness, vomiting, chest pains and respiratory difficulties. Blood pressure and heart rate usually becomes elevated. Some victims have described the affects as being similar to a heart attack.

The localized site of the bite and the surrounding area often becomes red with swelling. Initially the bite may only be mildly painful but within a few minutes, severe pain and cramping can occur. Progressively, the severity can spread to the legs, arms, chest and abdomen. In some cases, a victim can experience some paralysis, delirium, very heavy breathing, convulsions and unconsciousness.

What To Do If Bitten By A Black Widow

Don't panic. Remain calm. Healthy people may only be minimally affected by the widow's toxic venom. The extent of the symptoms may only be local pain. If possible collect the spider for positive identification. Check the site of the wound. You will usually notice two red spots where the spider's fangs have penetrated the skin.

It is always safe to get immediate medical attention. This is particularly true if the victim fits the description of those most at risk. If you are with a bite victim, keep them warm, quiet and calm. Clean the wound with soap and water. Apply a cold compress. Applying an antiseptic will help prevent future infection. Keep the affected arm or leg elevated above the heart level to help prevent the spread of the venom.

Decisions to seek emergency medical care should be made early before serious symptoms begin to appear. If severe symptoms do appear, the treatment will generally be beyond the scope of urgency care centers. It's best to proceed to a hospital emergency room. When the symptoms are severe, call 911 so emergency treatment can begin while in route to the hospital.

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This page was last modified on 29 August 2012 at 15:25