Black widow spider bite can be hazardous yet deadly bites are rare. The bite may cause much discomfort and pain. After a painful bite, pain and muscle problems can start in a few hours. These symptoms can be managed. A cure is available yet is rarely required.


The black widow spider is a medium-sized spider that is about a half-inch long. There are two common species:

The southern black widow. This spider has a shiny, dull, globe-framed mid-area. You’ll know it by the red hourglass mark on the underside.

The northern black widow. You’ll see some red spots at the center of the upper surface of its abdomen. It has two transversely bars on the underside. The markings can be yellow or white. This spider may be brown hued or have red legs.


Black widow spider bite symptoms include:

  • Pain
  • Cramping
  • Perspiring


Your doctor may diagnose a black widow spider bite depending on your history and your symptoms, yet a specific finding is difficult to confirm. Diagnosis requires:

  • An eyewitness to the bite
  • Identification of the spider by a professional
  • Exclusion of other possible causes



Spider bites, including those of the black widow spider and brown spider, may require the following treatment

  • Clean the bite with soap and water. Apply an antibiotic in case you think the bite was done by a brown spider.
  • Apply a cool pack to the bite.
  • If the bite is on the arm or the leg, raise it.
  • Use over-the-counter medicines as required. You may use a pain-reliever such as paracetamol or ibuprofen or an antihistamine
  • Watch the bite for signs of infection
  • Your master may give a tetanus shot if you haven’t had one over the past five years. You may require antibiotics if the bite ends up

In case a black widow spider bite is causing extraordinary distress or reactions, your doctor may suggest an antivenom, which may be injected into a thigh muscle or given through a vein (intravenously). However, antivenom can cause hypersensitivity reactions, so it must be used with caution.

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