Treatment for Black Widow Spider Bites
Call poison control and go to the hospital immediately
Use first aid while waiting for help
Medical professionals will assess severity
In the region of North America, the black widow spider is considered to be the most venomous spider. These spiders are known to thrive in a temperate climate; these black widow spiders are found quite commonly in the southern and western regions of the United States. One may find these spiders in outdoor toilets, certain sheltered regions, and in grape vineyards where there is a buildup of debris. Such sheltered regions are known to be the best place for these spiders to build their webs as well as trap their prey. The black widow is very famous for its name and the reason is because the females are known to kill as well as eat the male counterparts once their mating is completed. The spiders are also very well known for their shiny black body. Hence, it is very easy for an individual to tell them apart from other kinds of spiders, because black widow spiders have a particular mark on their body — a reddish hourglass shape. In certain cases, these spiders can also have white and red stripes or spots, mostly on the upper portion of their body. Generally, the black widow spider is feared by individuals for its venomous bite, but actually, it is considered to be less deadly than what people perceive. It can be harmful at times, but the bite of this spider is rarely fatal.
As per one of the control centers, not all e black widow bites are said to be venomous or have poisonous bites, and the reason for this is because the spider chooses when they inject the venom and how much of it has to be injected, if it does at all. The black widow is known to save its venom for when it feels that there is an actual danger to its life. When there is a nonvenomous bite from the black widow, an individual may experience few or no symptoms at all. The symptoms of a venomous bite are known to develop just two hours after the bite. The individual may feel some pain as well as swelling at the location of the bite. The following are a few of the other symptoms that are also associated with a black widow's bite. These symptoms again usually appear in about 24 to 48 hours after the bite: Rash or itching at the location of the bite; severe pain in the stomach; chest pain that becomes intense, along with tightness in the chest region; the individual may also experience cramps in the stomach, back region, and the shoulders; swelling in the face; nausea and vomiting; headache, which may become intense; excessive salivation from the mouth; eyes that tend to tear up; swelling of the eyelid; difficulty breathing; numbness in certain parts of the body, mostly the region around the bite; an increase in blood pressure; difficulty swallowing; and seizure attacks or convulsions.
If an individual begins to experience any of the above-mentioned symptoms or notices that they have been bitten by a black widow spider, they should immediately seek emergency medical help. For the doctor, the following information may be of great help:
- age and weight of the individual who has been bitten
- How they are feeling after the bite and whether they are experiencing any other health issues
- The time when the person was bitten by the spider and the exact location where the spider bit the individual
- The exact type of spider that has bitten the individual. It is important to provide a description of the spider, which would be of great help to the doctor in carrying out the treatment.
If possible, it would be a good idea to first apply aid at home while waiting for medical attention or reaching out to the doctor. An individual should carry out the following steps so as to avoid any kind of delay, or else the poison may spread throughout the body:
- First, as soon as you notice that a spider has bitten you, be sure to wash the site of the bite thoroughly with soap and water.
- Wrap ice in a towel or use an ice pack placed in a clean cloth and apply it gently onto the site of the bite. If the region where the bite has occurred does not receive the proper flow of blood, then reduce the amount of time the ice has been applied.
- You can also apply an antibiotic cream or an antibiotic lotion to the region of the bite, which would help to prevent any kind of infection.
- You can also elevate the affected limb to help prevent swelling if the bite is present on the arm or leg.
- Keep a close watch on your symptoms for any signs that the condition is worsening.
- You can take over-the-counter medicine to provide relief from the symptoms. Do not give aspirin to children; instead, you can use ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
- There may be a need for a tetanus booster, which, again, would depend on the last date when the individual had been immunized.
- One can also tie a bandage just above the area if the arm or the leg is affected to reduce the spread of the venom further. But be sure not to apply the bandage so tightly that it impairs the blood circulation, which can lead to further symptoms and complications.
As much as possible, individuals should be sure to place the spider or any of its remnants in a secure container. This will help the doctor to better understand the situation and carry out the proper treatment. Doctors are known to use various types of medicine to treat these bites, which can include a mix of pain relievers, corticosteroids, and muscle relaxants. In rare cases, there may be a need for hospitalization if the symptoms worsen.
Once you arrive at the hospital or clinic, a doctor would first check the important signs, which can include checking the patient’s temperature, blood pressure, pulse, and the breathing rate. In certain instances, the doctor may also order a number of others tests, which can include urine tests, blood samples, and X-rays of the upper body and the chest, or an ECG. The doctor can also prescribe medicine to help the patient treat their symptoms, along with oxygen or IV fluids if it is needed. In certain cases, if the individual is experiencing severe symptoms, the doctor can also provide an antivenin. This type of medication is known to contain antibodies that can help in the treatment of the poison’s effects. It can also lead to a severe allergic reaction, but not always.