Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Overview Incidence Symptoms Evaluation Treatment specialist Home Care pain in adults pain in children warning signs

Bite from a Black Widow Spider Home Care

Home care for a black widow spider bite includes:

  • Seek medical care for a black widow spider bite.
  • Apply cold compresses:
    • Apply for 20-30 minutes, every 1-2 hours, for the first few days.
  • Clean the wound:
    • Use mild soap and water.
    • Gently dab the wound with hydrogen peroxide to remove clotted blood.
    • Do not scrub the wound.
    • Remove dirt or foreign material from the wound.
    • Running water can help remove dirt.
  • Apply antibiotic ointment.
  • If the bite is on a limb, elevate the limb above the heart for 24 hours.
  • Take prescribed medications as directed:
    • Don't skip doses of your medication. This makes them less effective.
    • Be aware of the common side effects that may be caused by your medication.
  • Acetaminophen for pain
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for pain:

Tetanus Considerations
A tetanus shot is necessary right away if you have not had three tetanus shots in the past.

If you have received three tetanus shots in the past, you need a tetanus shot within three days if you have not had a tetanus shot in the past five years.

Bite from a Black Widow Spider Pain in Adults

Medications commonly used to control pain and inflammation in adults with a black widow spider bite include:


Acetaminophen
  • Acetaminophen decreases fever and pain, but does not help inflammation.
  • Adult dosing is 2 regular strength (325 mg) every 4 hours or 2 extra-strength (500 mg) every 6 hours.
  • Maximum dose is 4,000 mg per day.
  • Avoid this drug if you have alcoholism, liver disease or an allergy to the drug. See the package instructions.
  • Common brand names include Tylenol, Panadol, and many others.

Aspirin

Ibuprofen

Naproxen

Ketoprofen

NSAID Precautions

Bite from a Black Widow Spider Pain in Children

Common medications used at home for pain in children with a black widow spider bite include:


Aspirin and most of the other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) are not used in children except under a doctor's care.

Acetaminophen
  • Acetaminophen decreases fever and pain, but does not help inflammation.
  • Dosing is 10-15 mg per kilogram (5-7 mg per pound) of body weight every 4-6 hours, up to the adult dose.
  • Do not exceed the maximum daily dose.
  • Acetaminophen products come in various strengths. Always follow the package instructions.
  • Avoid this drug in children with liver disease or an allergy to acetaminophen.
  • Common acetaminophen products include Tylenol, Panadol and many others.

Ibuprofen
Always follow the package instructions.

Naproxen

Bite from a Black Widow Spider Warning Signs

Notify your doctor if you have a black widow spider bite and any of the following:

Last Updated: Dec 8, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Bite from a Black Widow Spider References
  1. Cohen J, Bush S. Case report: compartment syndrome after a suspected black widow spider bite. Ann Emerg Med. 2005 Apr;45(4):414-6. [15795721]
  2. Hawdon GM, Winkel KD. Spider bite. A rational approach. Aust Fam Physician. 1997 Dec;26(12):1380-5. [9470291]
  3. Reeves JA, Allison EJ Jr, Goodman PE. Black widow spider bite in a child. Am J Emerg Med. 1996 Sep;14(5):469-71. [8765113]
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