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Black Widow Spider Bite

  • Black Widow spiders can be identified by the red hourglass mark on their bellies (do not go looking for it).  Black Widows are found in "hidden" areas, such as woodpiles, outdoor sheds, barns, trees, and basements.  A Black Widow Spider Bites with minimal provocation.  Upon biting, she injects poisonous venom.  The venom is a toxin to the nervous system, and causes severe symptoms.

  • History of bites (usually painful)
  • Painful rigid abdomen
  • Severe diffuse muscle pains
  • Excessive salivation
  • Sweating
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Headaches
  • Weakness
  • Anxiety

  • Examination may show:
  1. Fang marks present (often cannot find)
  2. High Blood Pressure
  3. Tremor
  4. Increased salivation
  5. Difficulty breathing
  6. May see a rash
  7. Headache
  8. Restlessness
  9. Muscle twitching
  10. Muscle Cramps
  11. Rigid abdomen
  12. Abdomen is not tender (in spite of severe pain)
  13. Increased sweating
  14. In pregnant females, it may cause premature labor by increasing the contraction of the uterus.
  • Laboratory findings:
- White blood cell count may be elevated

  • Children, the elderly, and those with underlying medical problems are at the highest risk.

  • Pain relief
  • Hot tub bath
  • Calcium Gluconate injection
  • Methocarbamol injection (a muscle relaxant)
  • Antivenom is used in severe cases.  It is derived from horse serum, so there is a risk of an allergic reaction

  • Seek immediate medical treatment, as it can be life threatening.

  • Perforated ulcer
  • Appendicitis
  • Pancreatitis
  • Lead Poisoning
  • Porphyria
  • Kidney Stones
  • Tetanus
  • Myocardial Infarction
  • Strychnine poisoning


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