A 21-year-old Vermont woman claims that she was bitten by a black widow spider after she reached into a bag of grapes, WMUR (Manchester) is reporting.
The woman’s mother says that the spider crawled up her daughter’s arm and bit her. The family captured the spider and took it with them to the hospital. The young woman was treated overnight and released, but officials will be monitoring her health for long-term effects from the black widow bite for months, according to Huffington Post.
Gayle Finkelstein, of the New England Poison Control Center, says via WPTZ (Plattsburgh, New York) that getting bitten by a black widow spider feels like getting pricked with a pin. How much danger you’ll be in following a black widow bite depends on how much of the animal’s venom gets into your bloodstream.
“You’ll go into the emergency room, they’ll monitor you for blood pressure, heart rate and pain obviously and then they’ll treat for the pain with either pain medications or a muscle relaxant, and then they’ll look to see if the pains get worse and the symptoms get worse. If it’s a severe case they would require anti-venom.”
In fact, a black widow’s venom is 15 times more powerful than that of a rattlesnake’s, according to National Geographic. But such a small amount of venom enters a human that the effects of its bite rarely amounts to more than muscle aches and nausea. Bites are rarely fatal in healthy adults, but can sometimes be fatal in small children, the elderly, or people who are already sick.
“Fortunately, fatalities are fairly rare; the spiders are nonaggressive and bite only in self-defense, such as when someone accidentally sits on them.”
This is not the first time a grocery store shopper has found an unwanted “guest” in their produce. Earlier this year, an Australian woman found a venomous snake in a bag of potatoes, according to this Inquisitr report.
The woman who was bitten by the black widow spider says she bought the bag of grapes from Shaw’s, a grocery store chain in New England. In a statement, spokesperson Brian Dowling said that the chain is working with its produce suppliers to ensure that similar incidents don’t happen again.
“The health and safety of products we sell, and our customers, is our first concern. We have been closely monitoring the situation and been in contact with the family. We replaced product in the customer’s refrigerator as a precaution and took immediate action to inspect the product at the customer’s store. We also are inspecting the product in all of our stores and have been in touch with the supplier, which has an extensive food safety management system in place.”
Have you ever been bitten by a black widow spider? Share your experience in the comments below.
[Image courtesy of: Shutterstock/Maria Jeffs]