The Black Widow Spider is identified by a reddish orange colored mark that is shaped like an hourglass on their underside.

According to National Geographic, the venom of a Black Widow is 15 times stronger than the venom of a rattlesnake.

When bitten by a Black Widow Spider, people have muscle aches, nausea, and a paralysis of the diaphragm that can make breathing difficult.

Black Widow Spider bites can be fatal to small children, the elderly, or the infirm but most humans don't suffer serious damage when bitten and death is rare.

They are known to avoid human dwellings, but are found in areas such as outhouses and garages. Only the female black widow is known to bite humans, and only when disturbed, especially while protecting her eggs.

Black Widow Spider Bite Symptoms

According to Emedicine Health symptoms of their bite are:

  • Local pain may be followed by localized or generalized severe muscle cramps, abdominal pain, weakness, and tremor. Large muscle groups (such as shoulder or back) are often affected, resulting in considerable pain. In severe cases, nausea, vomiting, fainting, dizziness, chest pain, and respiratory difficulties may follow.
  • The severity of the reaction depends on the age and physical condition of the person bitten. Children and the elderly are more seriously affected than young adults.
  • In some cases, abdominal pain may mimic such conditions as appendicitis or gallbladder problems. Chest pain may be mistaken for a heart attack.
  • Blood pressure and heart rate may be elevated. The elevation of blood pressure can lead to one of the most severe complications.
  • People rarely die from a black widow's bite. Life-threatening reactions are generally seen only in small children and the elderly.

When Should You Seek Medical Care

If you are ever bitten by a black widow spider, and have pain severe enough to seek treatment at an Emergency Department, it will require narcotic pain relief.

Treatment for the most serious black widow spider bite are beyond what most medical offices and urgent care centers can offer you. Pain relief will most likely require narcotics and antivenin. Antivenin is a antitoxin to counteract the effects of the spider venom.

Seek emergency care as soon as possible at a hospital's Emergency Room if the person bitten has more than minor pain or has whole-body symptoms. If symptoms are severe, call 911 for emergency medical transport to the hospital. This is so evaluation and treatment can start on the way to the hospital.

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