First Aid - Spider Bites - Symptoms

A Pressure Immobilisation Bandage (PIB)
Quick action saves lives a PIB must be applied ASAP after a Funnel-web spider bite or from any large black spider suspect. IF PIB applied and medical attention obtained quickly - then a few days recovery time in hospital is required in most cases.
A medical emergency Funnel-web venom acts very quickly - the PIB compresses tiny blood vessels and lymph channels - retards lymphatic spread of venom into blood stream and vital organs - promotes local destruction of venom - very effective as long as patient is kept still.


Symptoms of a Funnel-Web Spider Bite

The person feels great pain at the site of the bite unlike snake bites.
Nausea and abdominal pain follow.
Difficulty in breathing is also experienced by the person and a general weakness or numbness of the muscles.
The body also secretes heavily in several areas.
Profuse sweating is usually obvious, along with excessive saliva production.
Heavy coughing is also common.
Virtually all major hospitals in "Funnel-web Country" carry an effective anti-venom.
Provided a pressure/immobilisation method has been applied soon after the bite and medical attention sought quickly, a few days in the hospital is the usual outcome with complete recovery.

Sydney Funnel-web Spider Bite FIrst Aid

Keep the patient calm - don't panic - avoid excitement - avoid undue movement of patient - reassure the patient - a Funnel-web spider anti-venom is readily available.
A PRESSURE IMMOBILISATION BANDAGE be firmly applied (but not tight) wrapping entire limb bitten - as tight as for a sprained ankle.
Call AMBULANCE dial 000. Seek medical aid immediately.
A second bandage be applied to further immobilise the affected limb, using a splint. Keep the patient still.
If safe to do so, collect the spider for identification.

Symptoms of Venomous Spider Bites

The fangs of a Red-Back Spider are tiny and it's bite may often go unnoticed, but, often a sharp pin-prick may be felt. This is generally followed by severe pain at the site of the bite, leading to more general pain.
Other symptoms of venomous spider bites include headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, abdominal pain, and partial loss of muscle control.
Sweating occurs in varying degrees, particularly around site of the bite.
Swelling of the affected area is common, as is a quickening of the heart-beat.

Red-back / other Spider Bites First Aid

Do NOT bandage - except for Funnel-web spider bite. The venom of Red-back and other spider bites will move very slowly - any restriction causes excruciating pain.
Keep the patient calm - don't panic - avoid excitement - avoid undue movement of patient - reassure the patient - a Red-back spider bite anti-venom is readily available.
Use an ICE-PACK (wrapped in cloth) on bite site - to help reduce pain and swelling around the bite site.
Medical First Aid should be sought immediately. If safe to do so, take the spider to the hospital for identification.
If serious symptoms exist - call AMBULANCE dial 000.

Web Links to Common Australian Spiders and Venomous Spider Bites Advice

Some Local Australian Spiders - Fact Sheet
Spiders of the ACT - CSIRO
Spiders - Victoria Dept of Health: Better Health Channel
A Clinician's Guide to Australian Venomous Bites and Stings
Spider Bite: First Aid - St John Ambulance
Spider Bites: Assessment and Management - Australian Family Physician
Spider Bite: A Current Approach to Management - Australian Prescriber
Funnel Web and Redback Spider Bites - First Aid Advice - Ambulance Services of NSW
Mouse Spider Bites and their Medical Importance - Medical Journal of Australia
Snakebite and Spiderbite Clinical Management Guidelines 2013 - NSW Dept of Health

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