Black widow bites are pretty terrible affairs. These spiders can be identified by the red hourglass-like coloring on the abdomen set against a black body, and they inhabit every continent on earth except Antarctica. Yes, they are here in Florida!
How Powerful is a Black Widow’s Venom?
With venom as much as 15 times as potent as a rattlesnake, these tiny eight-legged horrors can cause anything from moderate discomfort to death, depending on how sensitive the person is to the venom- luckily they discharge far less venom than a rattlesnake per bite, or else they’d surely be exponentially more deadly.
Symptoms of a Black Widow Bite
So what delights are in store for you after getting a lovebite from a black widow? Within fifteen minutes you’ll start feeling cramps in the area where you were bitten, as your nervous system fires off random signals uncontrollably.
Within the first hour, your body will begin to experience powerful muscle spasms as the venom goes wild on your neurotransmitters. Now the pain begins to become acute, and good news for all you wannabe-heart throbs, because your abdomen will become rock-hard as the muscles cramp. The venom isn’t trying to give you a sweet beach bod though, instead the alpha-latrotoxin and accompanying cocktail of chemicals is busy trying to kill as many of your nerve endings as possible. Remember, this is a spider that kills by paralyzing its prey.
Luckily for most of you, you’re too big for the venom to completely shut down your nervous system.
Unluckily for you, things are still going to be very, very painful. After about 3 hours your cramps will become acute, leading to extreme pain. You may be looking for painkillers at this point, but because of the effect of narcotics on the body, doctors likely won’t prescribe them for fear of helping the venom shut down your breathing. Your skin will get clammy and your blood pressure drops, which will lead to mild delirium and mental confusion. Pregnant women will likely go into labor at this point.
As you move into day 2 of your ordeal, and assuming you haven’t died yet, symptoms will start to fade, though you can look forward to large amounts of swelling in the affected area for several more days.
Is It True?
For all those of you wondering, it is true that female black widows will sometimes kill their partners after mating.
If you come across one of these, don’t risk getting bit. Let a professional take care of it and give us a call.