- 1 Why do Black Widows bite?
- 2 Black Widow Toxicity
- 3 What happens when you get bit by a Black Widow with Venom?
- 4 Can you die from a Black Widow Spider Bite?
- 5 How painful is a Black Widow Bite?
- 6 How many People die from a Black Widow Bite?
- 7 How long does It take to recover from a Black Widow Bite?
- 8 Medical Treatment of a Black Widow Spider Bite
- 9 Are there any long-term Effects?
One of the few venomous spiders found in the United States, the black widow is a part of the arachnid family. Its relatives include not just spiders but also ticks, mites, and even scorpions.
The body of the black widow is roughly one-half inch in length, and it has long legs. The characteristic marker of the black widow, however, is the red-orange or yellow hourglass shape found on its stomach.
These spiders along with their relatives are common in almost every part of the Western hemisphere. Attracted to warm, moist places, they are often found in woodpiles, stumps, storage sheds, stone walls, and beneath rocks.
If they do migrate indoors, they will find dark places, including closet corners or garages. Although their bite is poisonous, they are generally shy by nature and only bite when trapped stepped or sat on, or touched accidentally.
What happens when you get bit by a black widow? Although Latrodectism, the illness caused by a venomous black widow bite, can result in significant effects, they tend to be temporary, and death is extremely unlikely.
Of the fewer than 10 people who die from a spider bite in the United States every year, usually zero of those are the result of a black widow bite. However, the temporary things that do happen to some who get bit by a black widow can be pretty significant and painful.
Why do Black Widows bite?
Oftentimes, people are bit after reaching around a corner or into a dark space and unintentionally brushing against a black widow or her web or eggs.
Sometimes, yard shoes that have been left outside will have a black widow inside who will bite when somebody attempts to put their foot in there.
Black Widow Toxicity
More than half of black widow bites are dry, lacking venom, meaning that what happens when you get bit by a black widow in this case can be very minimal.
The reason for this variance is because venom takes quite a bit of energy to produce, so they want to ensure that it is only used when absolutely necessary, such as when it believes that its life is in danger.
When no venom is injected, the only thing that generally results is a pin-prick type of sensation at the time of the bite.
Unfortunately, intent does not matter when it comes to black widow spiders feeling threatened as most bites are the result of a person doing nothing intentionally threatening.
And the more a black widow feels threatened, the more venom is apt to be injected into the person, which results in a much stronger reaction to the bite.
What happens when you get bit by a Black Widow with Venom?
In that case, the bit person will oftentimes experience several things in addition to the initial pin-prick sensation and the tiny prick marks or redness sometimes seen at the sight of the bite.
However, these effects often do not occur quickly as many people can carry on their regular business in the immediate aftermath of a venomous black widow bite. In fact, the following effects sometimes never end up occurring even when venom has been discharged.
Signs of a Black Widow Bite
As the venom spreads from the bite towards the heart, it can cause painful cramping and muscle spasms near and far from the site of the bite, normally in the back, shoulders and thighs.
Many of the more painful spasms will occur around the stomach. Some compare them to the sensations of Appendicitis.
The pain will usually be quite intense at this point, and being able to walk will sometimes become impossible at this point.
This tremendous amount of pain is the result of the Alpha-Latrotoxin that has been released in the venom causing the bit person’s nerve cells to overwhelm the central nervous system when all of their neurotransmitters are released at the same time.
Black Widow Bite Treatment
Most people who get black widow bite treatment will then be given a variety of painkillers and muscle relaxants such as barbiturates and morphine.
However, the venom may affect breathing to such a level that providing any or too many painkillers may increase the danger resulting from the bite, so these decisions are made on a case-by-case basis.
Over the next few days, the venom can cause profuse sweating, hallucinations, nausea and a general inability to think as clearly as had been the case prior to being bit.
Blood pressure and heart rates may be altered as a result of the bite as well.
But there is a light at the end of the tunnel as these memorable effects will start dissipating after a few days and generally be gone about five or six days after the bite.
Can you die from a Black Widow Spider Bite?
If the person bit is experiencing especially severe effects such as convulsions, trouble breathing or unconsciousness, an anti-venom may be necessary. Medical treatment definitely is.
How painful is a Black Widow Bite?
If you are bitten by a black widow, you may not realize it at first. While it is difficult to answer the question how painful is a black widow bite, generally those who have experienced it describe the spider bite as a small pinprick or bee stick. Within 30 to 40 minutes of the bite, however, you will begin to experience the telltale signs of this type of bite.
Many people ask the question, What happens when you get bit by a black widow? While exact symptoms vary slightly depending on the individual, many victims of black widow spiders experience swelling and intense pain within the first hour of the incident. Additionally, a pervasive feeling of achiness is common as the neurotoxins travel throughout the body.
Typically, the concern associated with the black widow bite is in the symptoms rather than the bite itself. Most individuals experience associated symptoms, such as general weakness, nausea, vomiting, sweating, and headache in addition to swelling and pain.
How many People die from a Black Widow Bite?
While many individuals develop phobias related to being bitten (or even exposed to) spiders, the reality is that not very many people are even bitten by black widow spiders, much less die from them.
In fact, only four deaths on average each year are due to spider bites and of those, none are medically due to bites by black widows.
Fortunately, the even better news is that avoiding a black widow spider bite is relatively easy. Being undeniably timid by nature, black widow spiders only bite something as large as a person if they feel threatened or cornered. For example, if you shove your foot into a black spider infested shoe or unexpectedly touch one, then you might end up with a bite. Otherwise, you should be able to avoid being bitten by and large.
How long does It take to recover from a Black Widow Bite?
The female black widow is considered the most venomous black spider in North America. The venom of these spiders is a neurotoxin, which means it effects the nerves as well as the nerve tissue in the body.
Whether you felt the typical pinprick sensation from the black spider bite or not, onset of symptoms typically involves cramping and spasms in the muscle groups directly surrounding the site of the bite. In time, the symptoms spread to reach a larger area of muscle groups.
The local reaction typically occurs within minutes, and pain often seems disproportional to the two tiny red fang marks that appear at the site of the bite.
Systemic reactions often occur within an hour with some individuals even developing symptoms including breathing issues, general weakness, and even chest pain.
The individual may even become unaware of his or her surroundings and experience seizure or shock. Symptoms typically peak within two to three hours of onset, but they can last for several days afterwards.
If you suspect that you’ve been bitten by a black widow or another venomous spider, you should immediately clean the wound and apply a snug bandage above the bite. This will slow the spread of the venom. Following this self-treatment, you should be treated medically as soon as possible.
Medical Treatment of a Black Widow Spider Bite
In most cases, medical treatment centers on treating the symptoms of the bite. Medications are typically administered that relieve pain and control muscle spasms. In some cases, an anti-venom is used; however, there is risk that you could experience a severe allergic reaction to the treatment.
Most individuals do require hospitalization to treat the bite, and symptoms generally subside within two to three days. However, even if anti-venom is used, patients often experience fatigue, weakness, and other symptoms for 10 days or more.
If you do experience a black spider bite, you will experience some pain and discomfort associated with the neurotoxin making its way through your body. In most cases, a bite is not lethal, but it is important to seek treatment from a qualified medical professional.
Are there any long-term Effects?
What happens when you get bit by a black widow on long term? Muscle weakness and pain, muscle spasms and simply not being as energetic as had been the case prior to the bite occurring can persist for weeks or months afterwards. However, long-term effects are unlikely despite how likely they may feel during the few days immediately following the black widow bite.