Black Widow Spider Bite

What is Black Widow Spider Bite 

A bite from a black widow spider can be serious or life-threatening. Black widow spiders have a black body with an orange-red hourglass shape on the belly. If you think that you were bitten by a black widow spider, get help right away.

Follow these instructions at home:

Wound care

  • Follow instructions from your doctor about how to take care of your bite wound. Make sure you:
    • Wash your hands with soap and water before you change your bandage (dressing). If you cannot use soap and water, use hand sanitizer.
    • Change your bandage as told by your doctor.
  • Keep the bite area clean and dry. Wash the bite area with soap and water as told by your doctor.
  • Do notscratch the bite area.

General instructions

  • Take or apply over-the-counter and prescription medicines only as told by your doctor.
  • If you were prescribed an antibiotic medicine, take or apply it as told by your doctor. Do notstop using the antibiotic even if your condition improves.
  • If directed, apply ice to the bite area.
    • Put ice in a plastic bag.
    • Place a towel between your skin and the bag.
    • Leave the ice on for 20 minutes, 2–3 times per day.
  • Raise (elevate) the bite area above the level of your heart while you are sitting or lying down.
  • Keep all follow-up visits as told by your doctor. This is important.

Contact a doctor if:

  • You have muscle cramps.
  • You have pain or cramps in your belly (abdomen).
  • You have more redness, swelling, or pain at the site of your bite.
  • You start to be numb or weak in any part of your body.
  • You feel generally sick (malaise).

Get help right away if:

  • You start to breathe very quickly.
  • Your heart starts to beat very quickly.
  • You get very restless or confused.
  • You have chest pain.
  • You feel faint or light-headed.
  • You have fluid or blood coming from the bite area.
  • You have pus or a bad smell coming from your bite wound or bandage.
  • You have a fever.
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