Brown recluse spider bite: Appearance, symptoms, and home treatments

Should I worry about a brown recluse spider bite?

Brown recluse spiders are one of the few species of spider that pose a potential threat to humans.

There are more than 3,500 known species of spider in the United States. Although spiders cause fear in many people, only about five main groups worldwide can potentially cause significant reactions in humans.

In the U. S., these venomous species fall into two different groups: Brown spiders and widow spiders.

Brown recluse spiders belong to the brown spider group. The other well-known venomous spider is the black widow spider, which falls into the widow group.

Share on Pinterest Brown recluse spiders are highly venomous, but can only release small amounts of venom at a time.

The brown recluse spider is also known as the violin or fiddle-back spider. It lives in midwestern and southeastern parts of the U.S. This spider is brown and has a darker, violin-shaped spot on its back.

Unlike other spiders, which typically have eight eyes, brown recluse spiders only have six, arranged in three pairs of two eyes each. The legs of a brown recluse are long, thin, and covered in small hairs. The scientific name for this spider is Loxosceles reclusa, which can be translated from Greek as “with slanted legs.”

These spiders are most active at night and rest during the day, hidden away in dark areas. If they come indoors, brown recluse spiders prefer closets, attics, basements, and other dark areas of the house. They seem to prefer dry areas.

The venom of a brown recluse can be highly toxic, but the spiders are only able to release a small amount during a bite. People are also more likely to come into contact with the male spider, which has only half as much venom per bite as a female spider.

Why do they bite humans?

Brown recluse spiders only rarely bite humans and do so out of self-defense. They are not aggressive towards humans and prefer running away to biting.

Bites occur when the spider gets trapped against the skin, such as in tangled bedsheets or in clothing and shoes.

It is important to check and shake out linen and clothes before using them when living in an area to which these spiders are common, especially if they have not been in recent use.

There are many myths about brown recluse spider bites.

One common myth is that their bite always causes severe wounds and destroys skin tissue. In reality, only a small number of bites result in this type of injury. Most bites either cause no symptoms at all or only mild reactions.

Extremely rare complications can occur across the entire body, including acute anemia, blood clotting problems, and kidney failure.

The bite is usually painless to begin with, and occasionally symptoms will progress with time. Most bites occur on the thigh, upper arm, and chest.

If a skin reaction is to occur, over the first hour a person may experience the following symptoms around the area of the bite:

  • redness
  • swelling
  • a burning sensation

Over the next 2 to 6 hours, the site of the bite gets bigger, becomes more painful and forms a blister. if the area around the bite becomes more purple in color around 12 to 24 hours after the bite, skin death will likely occur. This is known as necrosis. If necrosis occurs, it can take several weeks or even months for the wound to heal fully.

However, according to spider experts at the University of Florida, if there are no signs of skin changes within 48 to 96 hours, the wound will not become necrotic and should heal properly.

While these spiders do not often bite humans, they pose a slightly higher risk to people who work indoors.

Machinists, janitors, and housekeepers might face an even higher risk, due to working in areas where there is an increased likelihood of coming into contact with the spiders.

Living in the Midwest or the southeastern U.S. is the main risk for accidental encounters with this type of spider.

Complications

Despite their fearsome reputation, only about 10 percent of brown recluse spider bites lead to serious skin complications.

There are no documented cases of death as a result of a brown recluse spider bite.

What people call spider bites are often misdiagnosed, usually the result of other skin conditions or infections.

Tick bites, viral, fungal and bacterial infections, drug reactions, and skin complications from diabetes are common causes of similar-looking skin reactions.

People can typically treat real spider bites at home. If possible, people should collect and identify the spider responsible.

Do this by trapping the spider under a clear cup or jar so the spider can be easily seen, and slowly sliding a piece paper under the container. Turn the container over and secure the paper over the top or attach a lid.

If someone receives a bite, they should clean the wound with mild soap and water.

If the bite is causing discomfort, elevate it if possible and apply a cool compress or a covered ice pack to reduce swelling and pain.

A pain reliever, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, can be helpful in reducing discomfort. An antihistamine, such as Benadryl, may also help with any itching.

People should see a doctor for any wound that is painful, red, oozing, or not healing properly.

If a brown recluse spider is confirmed as the cause, the doctor may recommend a tetanus booster if a person has not received one in the last 5 years. The doctor may also want to check the wound in 2 to 3 days after the bite, to ensure that the venom is not destroying tissue. Treatment can commence quickly if there are any concerns. This reduces the risk of further complications.

Diagnosis

There are many other conditions that can cause a severe wound similar to brown recluse spider bites. These conditions include tick bites, infections from bacteria, viruses and fungi, diabetes, and other skin conditions.

Unless a person lives in an area where brown recluse spiders are known to live and has caught the spider for proper identification, the cause of a wound should not be blamed on a brown recluse spider bite.

A person with a brown recluse spider bite has an excellent chance of recovery, especially with proper care, since most bites require no particular treatment and heal on their own.

In most cases, minor wounds from these types of bites heal completely within a week or so.

People with other medical conditions, such as diabetes or immune system problems, are at a higher risk of complications. These individuals are also at higher risk for a wide variety of skin infections and other skin problems. However, it is especially important for them to contact their doctor in the event of an actual or suspected brown recluse spider bite within 24 hours if there is a reaction. Any wound that is not healing properly needs to be evaluated, regardless of the cause.

Though brown recluse spider bites are rare, it is possible to reduce the risk of getting one. These steps are important for people living in the areas where brown recluse spiders settle.

The best way to do this is by avoiding areas where brown recluse spiders tend to live, such as dry areas with outdoor wood or rock piles. Someone who works near or in these areas should wear gloves.

When indoors, people should be sure to shake out clothing, shoes or bedding that they have not used for a while, particularly if they are kept in an attic, basement, or dark closet.

Taking other measures to prevent brown recluse spiders from setting up home can be useful. Cleaning out attics, sheds, closets, and basements gets rid of the spiders’ preferred hiding places. However, it’s important to remember, a brown recluse spider would rather escape from you than bite you.

Removing outdoor woodpiles can prevent their accumulation in these areas.

Even though these spiders have gotten a bad name, the actual risk of significant injury from a brown recluse is quite small.

Simple preventive measures can be highly effective, further reducing any risk of encountering these spiders.

What should I do directly after a brown recluse spider bite?

Since most brown recluse spider bites result in either no symptoms or only a mild reaction, washing the bite with warm soapy water and patting it dry with a clean cloth is the first step.

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Any reaction within a week of the bite that includes fever, chills, rash, yellowing of the skin, paleness, fatigue, dizziness, or vomiting requires immediate medical attention.

If a skin reaction is going to occur, changes should be seen within a few hours. This includes increased size, redness, pain, and usually blisters. Within a day the wound may become purple. This is often a sign that skin death, or necrosis, will occur.

It is important to see your doctor if these types of skin changes happen so that you can receive any appropriate vaccinations, medications, or wound care. You will likely need close follow-up to make sure the wound heals properly.

Judith Marcin, MD Answers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.

www.medicalnewstoday.com

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Brown snake.

Snake bites

It can be difficult to know if a bite from a snake is dangerous or not. This article explains the best first aid treatment depending on the type of snake involved.

Note: All snake bites must be treated as potentially life-threatening. If you are bitten by a snake, call triple zero (000) for an ambulance.

It’s also important to be aware that bites from snakes can cause a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) in some people. Learn more about first aid treatment for severe allergic reactions in the ‘anaphylaxis’ section below.

About snake bites

Australia has about 140 species of land snake, and around 32 species of sea snakes have been recorded in Australian waters.

About 100 Australian snakes are venomous, although only 12 are likely to inflict a wound that could kill you. These include Taipans, Brown snakes, Tiger snakes, Death Adders, Black snakes, Copperhead snakes, Rough Scaled snakes as well as some sea snakes.

Most snake bites happen when people try to kill or capture them. If you come across a snake, don’t panic. Back away to a safe distance and let it move away. Snakes often want to escape when disturbed.

Different types of snake bites

Dry bites

A dry bite is when the snake strikes but no venom is released. Dry bites will be painful and may cause swelling and redness around the area of the snake bite.

Because you can’t tell if a snake’s bite is a dry bite, always assume that you have been injected with venom, and manage the bite as a medical emergency. Once medically assessed, there is usually no need for further treatment, such as with antivenoms. Many snake bites in Australia do not result in envenomation, and so they can be managed without antivenom.

Check your symptoms with healthdirect’s Symptom Checker to get advice on when to seek medical attention.

Venomous bites

Venomous bites are when the snake bites and releases venom (poison) into a wound. Snake venom contains poisons that are designed to stun, numb or kill other animals.

Symptoms of a venomous bite include:

  • severe pain around the bite, this might come on later
  • swelling, bruising or bleeding from the bite
  • bite marks on the skin (these might be obvious puncture wounds or almost invisible small scratches)
  • swollen and tender glands in the armpit or groin of the limb that has been bitten
  • tingling, stinging, burning or abnormal feelings of the skin
  • feeling anxious
  • nausea (feeling sick) or vomiting (being sick)
  • dizziness
  • blurred vision
  • headache
  • breathing difficulties
  • problems swallowing
  • stomach pain
  • irregular heartbeat
  • muscle weakness
  • confusion
  • blood oozing from the site or gums
  • collapse
  • paralysis, coma or death (in the most severe cases)

In Australia, there are about 2 deaths a year from venomous snake bites.

Snake identification

Identification of venomous snakes can be made from venom present on clothing or the skin using a ‘venom detection kit’. For this reason, do not wash or suck the bite or discard clothing.

Do not try to catch or kill the snake to identify it, because medical services do not rely on visual identification of the snake species.

Antivenom is available for all venomous Australian snake bites.

First aid for snake bites

For all snake bites, provide emergency care including cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if needed. Call triple zero (000) for an ambulance. Apply a pressure immobilisation bandage and keep the person calm and as still as possible until medical help arrives. If you can’t use a pressure bandage, because the bite is on the trunk or stomach, apply and keep constant firm pressure.

Avoid washing the bite area because any venom left on the skin can help identify the snake.

DO NOT apply a tourniquet, cut the wound or attempt to suck the venom out.

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)

Read these articles for an overview of:

For printable charts, see St John Ambulance Australia’s first aid resuscitation procedures (DRSABCD) poster, as well as their quick guide to first aid management of snake bites.

Pressure immobilisation bandage

A pressure immobilisation bandage is recommended for anyone bitten by a venomous snake. This involves firmly bandaging the area of the body involved, such as the arm or leg, and keeping the person calm and still until medical help arrives.

Follow these steps to apply a pressure immobilisation bandage:

  • First put a pressure bandage over the bite itself. It should be tight and you should not be able to easily slide a finger between the bandage and the skin.
  • Then use a heavy crepe or elasticised roller bandage to immobilise the whole limb. Start just above the fingers or toes of the bitten limb, and move upwards on the limb as far as the body. Splint the limb including joints on either side of the bite.
  • Keep the person and the limb completely at rest. If possible, mark the site of the bite on the bandage with a pen.

A guide to pressure immobilisation bandages can be found on the Australian Resuscitation Council website.

Anaphylactic shock

Snake bites can be painful. Occasionally some people have a severe allergic reaction to being bitten. In cases of severe allergic reaction, the whole body can react within minutes to the bite, which can lead to anaphylactic shock (anaphylaxis). Anaphylactic shock is very serious and can be fatal.

Symptoms of anaphylactic shock may include:

  • difficult or noisy breathing
  • difficulty talking and/or hoarse voice
  • a swollen tongue
  • persistent dizziness or collapse
  • swelling or tightness in the throat
  • pale and floppy (young children)
  • wheeze or persistent cough
  • abdominal pain or vomiting

Call triple zero (000) for an ambulance. If the person has a ‘personal action plan’ to manage a known severe allergy, they may need assistance to follow their plan. This may include administering adrenaline via an autoinjector (such as an Epipen®) if one is available.

The Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy rrecommends that for a severe allergic reaction, adrenaline is the only treatment. For further information, visit the Choosing Wisely Australia website.

For more information on anaphylaxis, including setting up a personal action plan, go to www.allergy.org.au.

Not sure what to do next?

If you are still concerned about how to deal with snake bite, why not use healthdirect’s online Symptom Checker to get advice on when to seek medical attention.

The Symptom Checker guides you to the next appropriate healthcare steps, whether it’s self care, talking to a health professional, going to a hospital or calling triple zero (000).

Source s :

Last reviewed: September 2019

Recommended links

  • Recommendations for severe allergic reactions (opens in a new window)
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  • 5 questions to ask your doctor (opens in a new window)
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Spider Bites in Australia: Identification, First Aid, and Medical Treatment

Australia is home to a vast array of spiders that come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colours, many of which are the most venomous in the world. However, Australia’s spider reputation is actually bigger than its bite. Records show no deaths from spider bites in Australia since 1981. While there are approximately 2,900 species of spiders in in the country, a majority of these are harmless and will only cause minor symptoms such as itching and minor rashes when they do bite.

Dr. Aaron Harmer, arachnid researcher at Macquarie University says “while many spiders can give you a nip, in most cases it is less troublesome than a bee sting.” This is absolutely true. However, some spider bites can cause more serious effects. In some cases, administering spider bite first aid can only do so much, and emergency hospital treatment and observation becomes absolutely necessary.

The following informational blog, researched and created by Australia Wide First Aid, is not to be perceived as medical advice. If you have been bitten by a spider, please contact a medical professional or visit a medical facility to get appropriate medical advice and to obtain the most suitable treatment.

If you wish to be educated in person on how to treat a spider bite while waiting for emergency services, however, we encourage you to book a Provide First Aid Course with Australia Wide First Aid. This course includes lessons on cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and information on how to administer first aid for spider bites and insect stings. It will also help you determine correct measures to take in order to ensure that you or the person you’re helping will make a full and safe recovery after being bitten by a spider.

Why Do Spiders Bite People?

Spiders do not intentionally harm people since these arachnids do not feed on us and are usually not aggressive. Most of the time, spider bites occur as a defense mechanism, usually when a person accidentally brushes up an exposed part of their skin against an unwitting spider, or when they deliberately try to capture and trap the critter. Still, spider bites occur only rarely, and most cases don’t result in any serious consequences.

When Does a Spider Bite Become an Emergency Case?

While spider bites only happen rarely and most of them don’t result in severe reactions, there are spider species that are medically important. For example, the Sydney funnel-web spider is one of the most venomous species of spiders in the world, delivering atracotoxin that is particularly dangerous to humans and other primates. Their large chelicerae or fangs also allow them to bite deep into the skin.

Other times, spider bites also cause severe allergy or anaphylactic shock, which can also be fatal not because—or not only because—of the toxicity of the venom, but also because of how anaphylaxis causes the swelling and obstruction of a person’s airways, depriving the body of life-giving oxygen.

Such cases of serious envenomation and anaphylactic shock should be treated as medical emergencies, and any affected individual should immediately receive spider bite first aid until they can be brought under the care of medical professionals.

What Are the Usual Symptoms of Envenomation or Anaphylactic Shock Due to Spider Bites?

Spider bite symptoms can vary depending on the species of the offending arachnid. We encourage you to read this article further for the specifics on funnel-web spider bites and redback spider bites, which can be found below.

Generally speaking, however, affected individuals can experience symptoms that include pain and swelling at the site of the bite wound, profuse sweating, abdominal or generalised pain, involuntary muscle contractions, headache, chills or fever, weakness., and unconsciousness.

Symptoms of severe allergy or anaphylactic shock, on the other hand, can include difficulty breathing, wheezing, development of rashes or hives, stomach cramps, itchiness, and swelling of the mouth, throat, and face.

Administering First Aid for Spider Bites

The administration of first aid for spider bites originating from medically significant species can differ depending on the type of spider. Funnel-web spider bites, in particular, require pressure immobilisation in order to minimise the circulation of venom in the body. Conversely, redback spider bites only require cold compress by application of an ice pack. You’ll learn more about the details of first aid treatment of different spider bites later in this article.

As for the first aid treatment of a severe allergic reactions, the administration of adrenaline or epinephrine using an auto-injector is an affected individual’s first line of defense. If the person’s symptoms suggest anaphylaxis, a first aid responder should never hesitate to use the auto-injector immediately before following the other steps of the Anaphylaxis Action Plan.

TOP 10 MOST DANGEROUS SPIDERS IN AUSTRALIA

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1. Sydney Funnel-Web

Danger Level: High

The Sydney funnel-web spider is, without a doubt, the most dangerous spider in Australia. It is also a candidate for one of the most dangerous spiders in the whole world. However, although one in six Sydney funnel-web spider bites cause a severe reaction, there is anti-venom available when you seek emergency medical treatment from your local general practitioner or hospital.

Distribution: New South Wales, particularly in forests and urban areas. Sydney funnel-web spiders have been found in backyards and swimming pools and can be quiet aggressive when threatened.

Identification:

  • 5-3.5 cm in size
  • Black to blue-black colour
  • Shiny appearance
  • Large, powerful fangs
  • Hairless, shiny head

Behaviour: Sydney funnel-web spiders are aggressive when threatened

Appearance:

Image sourced from https://www.willkillpestcontrol.com.au/spiders-pest-control.php

2. Other Funnel-Webs

Danger: High

Among the 40 species in Australia, only 6 species of funnel-webs can cause severe envenomation. They are most active during the warmer months of November through March.

Distribution: Most common in Southern Queensland and Northern New South Wales.

Identification:

  • 1-5 cm in size
  • Colour ranges from black to blue-black to plum to brown
  • Hairless shiny head

Behaviour: Funnel-web spiders are aggressive when threatened

Appearance:

Image sourced from www.meusemvictoria.com.au

3. Redback Spider

Danger Level: High

The redback spider may be life-threatening to a child, but it is rarely serious for an adult. There are approximately 2000 recorded redback spider bites each year, and about 250 of the affected individuals receive anti-venom. No deaths due to redback spider bites have been recorded since the anti-venom was introduced in the 1950s. The main symptom of a redback spider bite is severe and persistent pain.

Distribution: Many habitats throughout Australia, including urban areas. They often try to hide in dry, sheltered places such as garden sheds, mailboxes, and under toilet seats.

Identification:

  • Female approximately 1 cm (more dangerous than a male) with a distinct red stripe on its abdomen.
  • Male red back approximately 3–4 mm and light brown in colour. The males have white markings on the upper side of the abdomen and a pale hourglass marking underneath.

Behaviour: Redback spiders are nocturnal and only the female bite is dangerous.

Appearance:

4. Mouse Spider

Danger Level: Medium

There are 8 species of mouse spider all found in and around Australia. However, only one case of severe envenomation has been reported in the country. Funnel-web spider anti-venom is found to be effective on mouse spider bites as the two bites are similar and are treated with the same pre-caution.

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Distribution: Throughout Australia. Found normally in burrows, near rivers and waterways, and occasionally in suburban areas

  • Bulbous head and jaw
  • Smooth and shiny head and legs
  • Males sometimes have colour markings on the head

Behaviour: Mouse spiders are typically lethargic, rarely aggressive spiders that prefer to be active during the day.

Appearance:


Male vs. Female Mouse Spider. Image sourced from www.australiameusem.net.au

5. Trap Door Spiders

Danger Level: Medium

Trap door spiders only cause minor symptoms such as localised pain. However, their venom can also sometimes cause nausea, lethargy, and malaise. Trap door spider bites are similar to a funnel-web spider bite and is therefore treated with the same precaution.

Distribution: Trap door spiders are found throughout Australia in natural and urban environments.

Identification:

  • 5 to 3 cm long
  • Females are significant larger than males
  • Males are more aggressive when threatened than females.
  • Live in tunnels, often with circular shaped doors
  • Lifespan between 5-20 years

Behaviour: Aggressive when threatened.

Appearance:

6. White-Tailed Spiders

Danger level: Medium

Recent studies show that the venom of the white-tailed spider causes no major danger to humans and is limited to mild local pain.

Distribution: White-tailed spiders are found in natural and urban areas across Southern Australia, from Southern Queensland to Tasmania and from east to west coast of Australia.

Identification:

  • Whitish tip at end of abdomen
  • 2-1.8 cm in length, legs can span up to 2.8 cm across
  • Typically dark reddish to grey in colour, with dark orange-brown banded legs

Behaviour: White-tailed spiders are active hunters and wander about at night, hunting other spiders.

Appearance:

7. Australian Tarantulas

Danger Level: Medium

Australian tarantulas are actually non-fatal to humans. However, they can render painful bites because of their large fangs. Nonetheless, effects such as vomiting and fever is very rare. Take note, however, that the bite of an Australian tarantula can be fatal to dogs.

Distribution: Australian tarantulas are found in Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia, and Western Australia. Some species can also be found as far south as Victoria.

Identification:

  • 6 cm body and up to 16 cm leg span
  • Large fangs (1 cm long)
  • Hairy
  • Dark or light brown, often with a silvery sheen

Behaviour: Their prey usually consists of insects, lizards and frogs, but they do occasionally prey on bird hatchlings. Australian tarantulas are also known as whistling or barking spiders because some species are able to make sounds by rubbing their front limbs against their jaws.

Appearance:

8. Recluse Spider

Danger Level: Medium

Recluse Spiders have potentially dangerous venom that can be haemotoxic and can damage the blood and skin. There has been no case of recluse spider envenomation reported in Australia.

Distribution: Southern Australia.

Identification:

  • 6–20 mm
  • Ranges in colour from cream-coloured to dark brown or blackish grey

Behaviour: Recluse spider are not inclined to bite.

Appearance:

9. Huntsman Spiders

Danger: Low

Huntsman spiders are reluctant to bite and will more likely run away when approached. Their venom isn’t considered dangerous to humans. Their danger usually comes from the accidents they cause rather than their bite.

Distribution: Hunstman spiders are widespread throughout Australia.

Identification:

  • Up to 15 cm leg-span
  • Bristly
  • Dark to light brown, sometimes grey

Behaviour: Huntsman spiders are unlikely to bite and prefer to run away.

Appearance:

10. Common Garden Orb Weaver Spider

Danger Level: Low

The bite from a common garden orb weaver spider causes minor effects such as local pain. However, they are aggressive, being the most common species of spider to bite.

Distribution: Common throughout Australia.

Identification:

  • 5 cm and 3 cm
  • Stout
  • Reddish brown or grey
  • Roughly triangular abdomens, sometimes with a white or brown stripe
  • Two noticeable bumps towards front of abdomen

Behaviour: Common garden orb weaver spiders are highly aggressive—the most common spider species to bite. They are active at night and find a sheltered place to hide during the day (such as under leaves or in clothes on the washing line).

First Aid for Spider Bites

Knowing what the dangerous variants of Australian spiders look like and how they behave is an important step in avoiding the harm that they bring, but you also need to know what exactly you should do if ever you get bitten by one of these critters.

We’re here to help fill you in on some of the details, but do take note that the information below should not be taken as medical advice. If you have been bitten by a spider, please seek the closest emergency medical practitioner or hospital as soon as possible.

First Aid for Funnel-Web Spider Bite

Any bite from a large (greater than 2 cm) dark-coloured spider in parts of NSW or South-Eastern Queensland should be considered as possible bite from a funnel-web spider. Immediate emergency treatment should be given.

Signs and Symptoms:

  • Pain at the bite site
  • Tingling around the mouth
  • Profuse sweating
  • Copious secretions of saliva
  • Abdominal pain
  • Muscular twitching
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Confusion leading to unconsciousness
  • Keep the casualty at rest, reassured, and under observation
  • Call 000/112
  • Follow the basic life support guidelines (DRSABCD)
  • Apply Pressure Immobilisation Technique
  • The purpose of the pressure immobilisation technique is to restrain the movement of venom from the bite site into circulation, thus “buying time” for the patient to reach a medical facility. Apply a bandage over the bitten area as tightly as you would for a sprained ankle, and immobilise the limb. Extend the bandage up the limb. Only use the pressure immobilisation technique for funnel web spider and snake bites.
  • Do notuse a tourniquet OR cut, suck, or wash the bite site

First Aid for Redback Spider Bite

A redback spider bite may be life-threatening to a child, but is rarely serious for an adult. However, you should take precaution with all redback spider bites.

Signs and Symptoms:

  • Onset pain delayed for five minutes than increases in intensity
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Abdominal or generalised pain
  • Sweating
  • Restlessness
  • Palpitations
  • Weakness or muscle spasm
  • Fever
  • Keep casualty under constant observation
  • Apply an ice pack or a cold compress on the bite area to lessen the pain
  • If the casualty is a young child and collapse occurs or pain is severe, follow the basic life support flow chart. Call 000/112 or transport the casualty to a medical facility as soon as possible.
  • Do not use a pressure immobilisation bandage

First Aid For Other Spiders Bites

For other spider bites that aren’t from large spiders (smaller than 2 cm) and are from a light-coloured spider, you should apply the same treatment as a redback spider bite.

Note: Even if a spider appears to have weak venom, you should follow the same precautions as if you were bitten by a funnel-web spider. A spider bite reaction can differ from person to person, potentially leading to an anaphylactic reaction, which can be life threatening. Refer to ‘What is Anaphylaxis?’ for more information about this condition. In all spider bite cases, please seek medical assistance as soon as you can.

Real-Life Spider Bite Story from an Australia Wide First Aid Student

Before we end this article, we’ll leave you with this interesting spider bite story that one of our students shared with us a short while back. Notice how sometimes, even something like a bite from a common type of spider can go unnoticed or misdiagnosed. This highlights the need for us to be aware of our surroundings and to learn as much as possible about the options available to us in terms of spider bite first aid and treatment.

“It’s actually a funny story. A couple nights ago, my partner and I were in bed, and he shot up and said he’d seen a spider—safe to say we didn’t sleep in our own bed for nights. He then developed bronchitis within what appears to be 28 – 36 hours. He didn’t know what type of spider it was, and he didn’t alert the GP when he saw her. Today, however, when I was getting ready for work, I found the 8-legged rascal in my clothes! It was the brown big-butted garden orb weaver spider.

The symptoms were nausea and dizziness, which he’s had since the bite he found the morning after, but the doctor—I think—has misdiagnosed the severity because of the unknown spider bite, and she instead prescribed heavy duty antibiotics, puffers, and even steroids to my partner.”

“Two days after the spider bit my partner, the spider bite now looks like a purple smudge, a bit like a bruise. The morning after the spider bite occurred, it looked like a purple nipple due to swelling and because my partner scratched it.”

About Australia Wide First Aid

Australia Wide First Aid offers first aid courses in convenient locations around the country. Find out more:

www.australiawidefirstaid.com.au

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