Management of widow spider bites
- Richard S Vetter, MS
Richard S Vetter, MS
- Department of Entomology
- University of California, Riverside
- David L Swanson, MD
David L Swanson, MD
- Associate Professor of Dermatology
- Mayo Clinic
- Julian White, AM, MB, BS, MD, FACTM
Julian White, AM, MB, BS, MD, FACTM
- The University of Adelaide
- Section Editors
- Stephen J Traub, MD
Stephen J Traub, MD
- Section Editor — Toxicology
- Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine
- Mayo Medical School
- Daniel F Danzl, MD
Daniel F Danzl, MD
- Section Editor — Environmental Emergencies
- Professor of Emergency Medicine
- University of Louisville School of Medicine
- Deputy Editor
- James F Wiley, II, MD, MPH
James F Wiley, II, MD, MPH
- Senior Deputy Editor — UpToDate
- Deputy Editor — Adult and Pediatric Emergency Medicine
- Deputy Editor — Primary Care Sports Medicine (Adolescents and Adults)
- Clinical Professor of Pediatrics and Emergency Medicine/Traumatology
- University of Connecticut School of Medicine
This topic will review the management of widow spiders (genus Latrodectus) bites. Clinical manifestations, diagnosis, and differential diagnosis of widow spider bites, recluse spider bites, and an overview of the approach to a suspected spider bite are discussed separately. (See "Clinical manifestations and diagnosis of widow spider bites" and "Bites of recluse spiders" and "Approach to the patient with a suspected spider bite: An overview".)
The approach to widow spider bites depends upon the severity of envenomation (see "Clinical manifestations and diagnosis of widow spider bites", section on 'Clinical manifestations'):
●Mild envenomation – Mild widow spider envenomation consists of local skin irritation that may also be associated with local muscle pain and spasms adjacent to the bite.
●Moderate envenomation – Generalized spasmodic muscle pain in the bitten extremity, sometimes involving the back, chest, or abdomen, and accompanied by local diaphoresis constitutes the common manifestations of moderate envenomation.
●Severe envenomation – Severe envenomation causes pain that is severe and difficult to control or accompanied by systemic findings such as tachycardia and hypertension, nausea and vomiting, or headache.
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- MILD ENVENOMATION
- MODERATE TO SEVERE ENVENOMATION
- Widow spider antivenoms
- - Indications
- Pregnant women
- - Efficacy
- - Adverse effects
- - Dosing and administration
- DISCHARGE INSTRUCTIONS AND AFTER CARE
- INFORMATION FOR PATIENTS
- ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
- SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS