Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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

Black Widow Spider Bite 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.

Black Widow Spider Bite 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

Black Widow Spider Bite 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

Black Widow Spider Bite 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
Copyright DSHI Systems, Inc. Powered by: FreeMD - Your Virtual Doctor

PubMed Black Widow Spider Bite 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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