Black Widow Spider Bite: Signs and Treatment

The poison of the black widow spider bite affects some parts of the nervous system. The effects on the nervous system are different for each victim.

Black widow spider

Before we get to know the symptoms and the treatment for the black widow spider bite, let us get to know first the black widow spider.

The black widow spider has many species and types. Two of its species are especially popular in some parts of the United States of America. These spiders are about two inches long but are quite vicious.

These black widow spider species are common in the northern and southern parts of America. The black widow spider is more common though in the Southern part of America because these spiders love a hot climate.

These two popular species are named the southern black widow and the northern black widow. They are quite different from each other.

The southern black widow has a round-shaped abdomen. You know that it is a southern black widow because of its hourglass markings. The other favorite species is called the northern black widow. You know that it is a northern black widow spider by the red spot marking on its abdomen. At times, the color of these spots will be white or yellow. The other significant marking of the northern black widow is its legs. Its legs are usually very large and in color red or deep brown.

These spiders usually do not bite, and mostly, the female black widow spiders are the only ones that bite. They only bite once they are aggressively attacked or disturbed. They are only active at night and love dark corners. They like dirty and dark crevices at homes and in barks of some trees.

These spiders also love to nest in places where debris is developing. This is because it is quite perfect for their webs and to get their preys. They like dry and securely sheltered spots.

The term black widow is symbolical not only because the female black widow spider is the only one who bites, but they also kill and eat their male counterparts after mating with them.

The venom of the black widow spider is strong and can be fatal at times. In reality, though, their venoms are not that lethal but enough to give you the symptoms that will be mentioned below.

Now the question is, how do you prevent the bite of a black widow spider?

It is quite rare for a black widow spider to attack and bite humans. However, in certain circumstances where they felt threatened by a human, it will bite. This bite is a form of self-defense and an act of survival. We are more dangerous to them than them, to us. Being near them should not put a worry in your heart. Just try not to agitate and touch them intentionally, and they will leave you in your own devices.

There is a study conducted in 2014 where it says that a black widow spider will automatically bite you, once you squeeze their body with your finger. All in all, just try not to agitate a spider by touching it or try not to touch them at all with your bare fingers. If you want to lead the spider out, try to nudge them with a dull object, and it will eventually go away on its own.

The venom of a black widow spider is quite lethal for children and older people. They are the ones that should be protected from this arachnid’s bite.

The Symptoms of the Black Widow Spider Bite

The symptoms of the black widow spider bite are quite elaborate to the extent that it might affect your nervous system. The poison of the black widow spider bite affects some parts of the nervous system. The effects on the nervous system are different for each victim. Some people might immediately have severe nervous system-related symptoms while others might not be affected at all. In its face though, after the bite, you might immediately feel pain, a hot sensation, inflammation in the bitten area. Other indirect symptoms might be the following:

Some muscle parts might have a weird painful sensation associated with firmness;

  • Brain fogginess
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Painful abdomen and sometimes a cramping sensation of the abdomen
  • The unusual amount of sweating
  • Red rash and itchiness in the bitten area
  • Inflamed lids of the eyes
  • Numbness in some muscle parts and your legs
  • Involuntary shudder and shivers in some parts of your body

Many of these symptoms are similar to some bites. However, if you are quite sure that these symptoms are due to a bite by a black widow spider, and the symptoms are quite severe, then immediately admit yourself to the nearest hospital.

The black widow spider bite is especially harmful to children. Admit them immediately if they have been bitten by one.

If an adult like you can endure the symptoms of the black widow spider bite, then temporarily, you can treat yourself with the following home remedies. If the symptoms, however, are nonstop and have no signs of stopping soon, you might want to admit yourself to the nearest hospital.

When you admit yourself to a hospital, if possible, try to bring with you the culprit spider. This spider should be killed and put inside a clear plastic or glass jar or any container. This is to aid your doctor in your diagnosis.


  1. Clean the bite area thoroughly with soap and water;
  2. Apply a cold compress in the bite area. Make sure the cold compress comes from clean water;
  3. Take an oral medication that temporarily relieves pain. You may get these in drugstores, and are mostly over the counter medications;
  4. Bites on the arms and legs should be elevated above the heart level
  5. Apply an antibiotic cream to the cleaned bitten area. Make sure that the antibiotic cream has been tightly sealed and has not expired.


  • Wed 26 September 2018 By Foram Mehta
  • WebMD

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