Black widows have fangs, almost like miniature snakes. Soon after a black widow spider bite -- before any reaction starts -- you may be able to see two small holes like those in this image. Black widow venom can cause muscle spasms and heart disturbances, but doesn't usually cause the infected sores that are blamed on brown recluse spiders.
Black widow spider bites are rarely fatal. The most common symptoms after a bite (besides the pain of the bite itself) are:
- Abdominal pain
- Muscle cramps/soreness
- Soreness and redness around the bite
High blood pressure is also common from black widow spider bites, although it rarely causes any problems for the patient. Most of the symptoms are treated individually. An antivenin (spider poison antidote) is available for black widow spider venom, but it's not really necessary for most victims.
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Clark, R.F., et al."Clinical presentation and treatment of black widow spider envenomation: a review of 163 cases." Annals of emergency medicine. Jul 1992.
Woestman, R., R. Perkin and D. Van Stralen. "The black widow: is she deadly to children?" Pediatric emergency care. Oct 1996.