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What is a black widow spider?

Black widows are poisonous spiders. They have a black, shiny body and are well known for the red marking on their underside that looks like an hourglass. They usually make their homes in sheds, woodpiles, outdoor furniture and other places where they can live undisturbed. In the US, they are more common in western and southern states. They are not aggressive, but will attack if they perceive a threat. People who are bitten by black widows need emergency care. The first symptom of a black widow's bite may be a small stinging sensation along with swelling or redness where the bite occurred. More serious symptoms usually follow within 15 minutes to an hour. These include breathing problems, headaches, nausea and vomiting, muscle cramps, numbness, increased sweating and increased saliva. Small children, the elderly, and the very ill are at the highest risk of dying from a black widow bite; pregnant women have been known to go into premature labor from one. 
black widow spider

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.