Black Widow Spider Bites Massachusetts Child, Parents Issue Warning

Nobody knows exactly when a black widow spider bit Kailyn Donovan. Her mom, Kristine, noticed a “purple, little tiny bruise” on her daughter’s leg last week and assumed that it was a mark from playing in their backyard.

Kristine decided to keep an eye on the “bruise” but after learning that the dark mark wasn’t just from outdoor fun but actually a sign of a potentially deadly bite, this Massachusetts mom is warning other parents. Kristine told CBS News that the she didn’t realize anything was wrong until the mark started to turn black a few days later.

Kristine immediately took her 5-year-old to the hospital and doctors identified the mark as a black widow spider bite. According to CBS News, a female black widow’s bite can be incredibly painful because the venom is believed to be 15 times more potent than that of a rattlesnake. Symptoms can include abdominal cramping and severe muscles spasms for up to a week.


Luckily, the little girl didn’t experience any pain. “She never felt it bite her,” a Kristine told CBS Boston. “It could have been in her jeans in the location where it bit her, we just don’t know.”

According to Kailyn’s doctor, William Durbin, who is a pediatric infectious disease specialist, cell death caused the skin to turn black on her leg and she’s know being treated with antibiotics. “She had a very distinctive bite, which was very scary for her parents and of course the doctors, too,” William said.

Kristine hopes that other parents realize that these spiders can be potentially deadly for children and plans to spray her house and yard as a precaution. “The doctor said it definitely was outside — they don’t chase people. It probably was bothered,” she said. “We’ve been doing a lot of yard work; it probably upset one of them and she was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Female black widows have red hourglass marks on their abdomens while males have these distinctive markings on their backs. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, these spiders release toxins that can harm a child’s central nervous system. They warn that these spiders are most common in the South and West regions of the United States and urge parents to seek immediate medical help if a black widow spider bites a child.

These are the common symptoms of black widow spider bites they want parents to be aware of:

  • Immediate pain, burning, swelling, and redness on your child’s skin
  • You may see double fang marks
  • Cramping pain and muscle tightness in the stomach, chest, shoulders, and back
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Rash and itching
  • Restlessness and anxiety
  • Sweating
  • Swelling and tearing of the eyes
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Increased saliva
  • Weakness, shaking, or not being able to move, especially in the legs


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