Wilderness Medicine, First Aid, and Outdoor Skills
Red Widow Spider

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Appendix A: First Aid Case and Kits, Dressings, and Bandages
Appendix B: Rescue and Transportation Procedures
Appendix C: Common Problems/Conditions
Appendix D: Digital Pressure
Appendix E: Decontamination Procedures
Appendix F: Glossary

Red Widow Spider (Latrodectus Bishopi)

Red Widow Spider This is a rather uncommon spider, it is a member of the black widow family and is highly venomous. According to all literature, this spider is indigenous to south and central Florida. Survive Outdoors strongly speculates that this spider is increasing its range. We have also found in the last 10 years an increase in bites from venomous spiders and venomous snakes that are not indigenous to the area. This is due to the buying and selling of venomous species over the Internet. As well as importing from other countries. This is a dangerous practice and hopefully soon stopped.

The venom of all lactrodectus species ranges from 10-25% more potent than a rattle snake. However, the amount of venom that it delivers is much less. Its venom is a neurotoxin which causes sustained muscle spasm rather than local tissue injury. Usually outcomes are very good, however there are reported deaths in the very young and very old with this bite. The puncture wounds are usually very small but many symptoms are reported. A few of these are high blood pressure, sweating, vomiting, respiratory muscle weakness, and possible seizures. The patient usually presents with a very stiff abdomen that may mimic an appendicitis.

Treatment:
The worst pain is usually in the first 8-12 hours. Other symptons may remain for several days. Patients usually do very well and anti-venom is available in the United States from Merck and Company.

Image taken by Iris Sager of Lubbock, Texas




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