Black widow spider bites in children

The black widow spider has small black body with a red hour-glass shape on the stomach area and a bite is very poisonous which contains chemicals that make people sick. These spiders can be found in stone walls, barns, sheds, porch furniture, woodpile and other outdoor structures.

The female black widow spider has more venom than the male spider. The female have long legs, shiny appearance and coal black in color with an orange, red or yellow shape in their underside that looks similar to an hourglass. These spiders are about 1.5 inch or 3.8 cm long and are smaller than the males. The spider bites when the web is disturbed and the bites on children and babies are more serious than bites on adults.

Black widow spiders are nighttime creatures and usually choose shadowy corners or fissures and avoid human dwellings, but they can also be found in areas such as outhouses. Always bear in mind that it is usually the female spider that bites when disturbed especially when protecting their eggs.


  • Presence of one or two tiny fang marks that looks like small red spots.
  • Sharp pain with swelling and redness of the affected area.
  • There is fever, chills, vomiting or nausea.
    Black widow spider

    Sharp pain with swelling and redness of the affected area.

  • Muscle spasms or cramps that begin near the bitten area and spread and increase in severity for 6-12 hours.
  • Severe chest, back or belly pain
  • Sweating
  • Restlessness, shock or stupor
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Paralysis in the legs


  • The child must be allowed to rest.
  • Wash the affected area thoroughly with soap and water.
  • Apply a cold compress immediately on the affected area in order to lessen the swelling. Another way is using a cool damp washcloth or a few cubes wrapped in a cloth to lessen the pain. Just remember to avoid directly placing the ice on the skin in order to help prevent burning the skin.
  • Taking a warm bath can also help with the condition.
  • Provide the child with the prescribed pain medications such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen.
  • Check if the child shows unpleasant reactions to the antivenin if it was given.
  • Check the skin of the affected child for any symptoms of infection.

Tips to bear in mind

  • If possible, children should stay away from woodpiles and other areas that spiders usually stay.
  • Place sticky tapes on the floors to help catch spiders that might enter the house.
  • Hose down outdoor furniture as often as possible.
  • Avoid going to dark places where black widow spiders live such as garages, closets and attics.
  • Be careful when using outdoor bathroom facilities when camping since it is usually the common area where people usually are bitten by spiders.


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