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Black widow spider
DefinitionThis poisoning is from a bite by a black widow spider.
Black widows are found throughout the U.S., but predominantly in the South and West. They are usually found in barns, sheds, stone walls, fences, woodpiles, porch furniture, and other outdoor structures.
Place ice (wrapped in a washcloth or other suitable covering) on the site of the bite for 10 minutes and then off for 10 minutes. Repeat this process. Seek immediate emergency medical treatment.
Before Calling Emergency
Determine the following information:
Poison Control, or a local emergency number
They will instruct you if it is necessary to take the patient to the hospital. See Poison Control Centers for telephone numbers and addresses.
If it is necessary to go to the hospital, bring the spider (if safely possible) to the emergency room for identification.
What to expect at the emergency room
Treat the symptoms with a variety of therapies, such as pain medication, muscle relaxants for spasms, anti-hypertension drugs for elevated blood pressure, and in severe cases, antivenin medication.
Death in a normally healthy individual is very rare, but is more likely in very small children and elderly victims. Severe symptoms usually resolve within 2-3 days, but milder symptoms may persist for several weeks.
Update Date: 1/29/2004Cherlin Johnson, M.D., Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT