Most people would stay away from spiders. Some people may have shivers up their spine on seeing this 8 legged hairy crawling creature. Even though spiders look scary, most of them are blessing in disguise as they feed on tiny insects. Without spiders, the world would have been infested with tones of insects. There are at least 35000 species of spiders in the world, and among them few species are dangerous to humans. Black widow spider is infamous for its venomous bite.
When black widow spider bites a person, it injects the venom into the body.This venom is neurotoxic, meaning it damages the nervous system of the body producing symptoms of severe pain, muscle cramps, tremors etc. The bite of adult female black widow spider is more dangerous than the male spider. You can recognize adult female Black widow spider by its glossy black with crimson hour –glass marking on the lower aspect of abdomen.
This predatory invertebrate usually inhabits in warmer regions of the world. This species of spider is present throughout North America. It is more active at night. Black widow spider prefers to live in dark places and it is mostly found in outhouses and garages.The female black widow spiders are usually docile. They bite only when disturbed.
Black Widow Spider Bite Symptoms
The symptoms are produced instantly or few minutes after the spider bite. These symptoms may depend on many factors such as the amount of venom injected in a person, his age and physical condition. This protein venom of black widow spider is considered to be very powerful neurotoxic.
Soon after the bite there is intense pain in the area. After 20 to 30 minutes there is redness and swelling in the localized bitten area. Patient may feel muscle cramps at the site of bite. These cramps then spread to other parts of the body or they become generalized. In abdomen the cramps may mimic as if the patient is suffering from acute appendicitis, or cramps in chest may mimic to be that of heart attack.
Cramps may be accompanied by weakness, tremors, vomiting, nausea, breathing difficulty etc. The pupils may contract. There is excessive salivation and sweating.
Heart rate and blood pressure both are elevated. In severe cases the patient may suffer from cardiovascular collapse. However, such life threatening incidences are rare. Children and old people are generally vulnerable for such serious situations.
Treatment For Black Widow Spider Bite
If someone is bitten with black widow spider and if there is no prompt medical aid available, the first thing that needs to be done is as follows:
Clean the area of the bite with soap and water. Apply cold and warm compresses over the bitten and painful area. Apply an antiseptic ointment. Contact the physician as soon as possible, or contact emergency room.
Once the physician examines the patient analgesics and antivenin are administered. Antivenin counteracts the effect of Black widow spider venom. Analgesics help to reduce the pain. Muscle relaxants may be required to alleviate spasms. Antibiotics are given to prevent secondary pyogenic infections.
Home remedies for Black widow spider bites may not be very effective as the intensity of pain and cramps is too severe. However, many times to reduce pain and swelling turmeric powder mixed in olive oil may be applied on the bite to reduce pain. Turmeric has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.