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After being bitten by a black widow spider, you may have painful swelling around the bite. You may also notice cramps, muscle spasms, and achiness, and you may be sick to your stomach.
These symptoms may get worse for up to about 12 hours after you were bitten. Then they should start to go away. It may take a few days or weeks before all the pain goes away.
Black widow spiders are usually found throughout southern Canada, the United States, and Mexico. They live in low-lying webs in garages, in barbecue grills, around swimming pools, and in wood piles. Most bites occur in rural and suburban areas between the months of April and October. These spiders tend to bite when their webs are disturbed. Bites to babies and children may be more serious than bites to adults.
Medicine to counteract black widow spider venom (antivenom) is available, but it is rarely used.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:
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Current as of: November 9, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
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