Symptoms: They can range from a pimplelike bump or sore to muscle cramps, chest pain, and nausea.
How to treat: For the first 72 hours, apply ice every few hours while awake; hold the ice in place for up to 20 minutes (it should feel so cold that it’s uncomfortable). “Ice has been shown to slow the rate at which enzymes in the venom move through the body,” says Norris. Elevating the affected body part may also help minimize swelling and reduce the amount of venom entering the bloodstream, says Belsito. To manage pain, take acetaminophen or an NSAID. But if it becomes too severe to control on your own or you develop significant nausea, go to the emergency room.
Good to know: If possible, capture and kill the spider, which will help the doctor identify your bite. Interestingly, “when people complain of a spider bite with a lesion but there’s no confirmation of a spider, it’s often the staph infection MRSA,” says Norris. And though uncommon, a bite from a black widow spider can produce rare but severe reactions, like renal failure or even death, which is why it’s so important to see a doctor if symptoms move beyond pain.