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Frequently Asked Questions About Australian Spider Bites

Spider bites are notoriously known for being deadly and venomous, and Australian spiders are no exception. This article will cover frequently asked questions regarding Australian spider bites.

What are the characteristics of Australian Spider Bites?

Short answer: profuse sweating, nausea, itching and redness, dilated pupils are a few out of the many other distinctive characteristics. 

  • There will be sharp pain where the bite is and blistering 
  • Vomiting, abdominal pain as well as muscle spasms 
  • Other symptoms depend of the species of the spider
Funnel Web Spider

How to identify an Australian spider bite

Australia is home to some of the deadliest spiders in the world, and common Australian spider bite marks are easily identifiable. 

Spiders can be harmless, but there are some spider bites that are life-threatening and dangerous. Here’s how you can identify them:

  • Inflamed and red 
  • Chills or fever 
  • Swelling 
  • Cramping

These symptoms vary across the spectrums of spider species,and you can go through the list of Australia’s Deadliest Spider Bites here.

Inflamed and red 

The area around the bite will be inflamed and red, which will look like a common bug bite.

But what differentiates spider bites is the red skin, swelling and pain experienced simultaneously. 

If the bite is from a venomous spider the inflammation could spread internally and will be extremely painful.

Chills or fever

In this case, it could either be chills or fever or sometimes both at the same time. 

It is possible to be shivering at first and then having fever as a result. 

Or the victim will burn up to the point where they may feel cold at the same time.

Swelling

Swelling and tenderness will be experienced too, especially for people who are allergic to spider bites. 

There may be slight swelling at the beginning, but it may get worse unless it is attended to early on.

To avoid it worsening and for long term effects setting in, medical assistance is vital.

Cramping

The cramping that occurs is usually misunderstood for appendix or abdominal pains, but this is due to abdominal rigidity leading to cramps.

Muscle cramps are likely to be severe as well, and will happen during the first 6 hours after the spider bite. 

However, it won’t end there - it will last from at least 24 hours to 48 hours.

Are there always marks after a bite?

Yes, there will always be marks after a bite, especially if the spider’s fangs are strong enough to penetrate through the skin of a human.

Generally the two fang marks can be seen after the spider bites, depending on the size and type of the spider. 

Other than the two fang marks, two small holes that are side by side can be seen in the area. 

The Sydney funnel spider is known for being the most venomous, especially since it has very powerful fangs. 

You can read more about the Sydney funnel spider and other types of spiders here.

Redback Spider

How severe can a bite be?

Spiders don’t usually target humans and bite them, and in the event they do it is probably because they are provoked. 

Spider bite severity could be either mild or in some very rare cases death can occur. 

The severity could change if the bite gets infected, as it may spread and medical attention will be needed.

Symptoms that you would need to watch out for are:

  • Worsening redness around the skin
  • Dying skin tissue 
  • Body aches 
  • Vomiting and nausea

Worsening redness

Initially after a spider bite there will be definite irritation felt, lasting a few days. However if it continues to spread slowly, this is a major warning flag. 

There is a possibility of cellulitis occurring too, which is just as painful and the necessary treatment will have to be taken.

Dying skin tissue

The skin could take a turn for the worse since there’s a high chance it could turn black along with severe blistering. 

Since there will be poor blood flow, ulcerations will start to form on the skin, and a medical professional will have to check if the skin tissue can recover or not.

Body aches 

One of the major signs of fatal spider bites, body aches are a symptom that’s considerably more serious. 

It could also be a result of an infection that’s getting worse by the minute from a regular spider bite.

Vomiting and nausea

Another sign from a threatening spider bite, vomiting and nausea are quite serious indicators from a spider bite. 

Like other symptoms mentioned above, it could be an allergic reaction to the spider bite or a really bad infection that needs immediate care.

What can I do to prevent an Australian spider bite?

Being prepared with a first aid kit is the first thing to do, making sure that it is suitable for the outdoors. 

There are various types of first aid kits that have been specifically designed for the outdoors, such as the Survival Snake Bite KIT, that can also be used for bites from the Sydney Funnel-Web spider.

You can find out more information and purchase the KIT here. 

They may be impossible to catch, but you can spider-proof your home by:

  • Installing wall ventilation slots or flyscreens to vents 
  • Not leaving any equipment outside 
  • Installing draught strips to doors

Additional precaution that you can take before going outdoors is:

  • Shake clothes, wetsuits and shoes that haven’t been worn for a long time
  • Wear shoes, especially at night 
  • Always leave the house with a torch if at night
Sydney Brown Trapdoor Spider

Related Questions:

How do I treat Australian spider bites?

Australian spiders are either harmless or dangerous, as I mentioned earlier. 

When it comes to treating these bites, it has to be done carefully, or with medical assistance. 

If treating the bite at home, follow the below steps:

  • Apply pressure to the area
  • Clean the area with a sterile cloth 
  • Apply an ointment to the area 
  • Make sure to elevate the area
  • Apply pressure to the area
  • A cool compress will have to be applied to the area, for approximately 15 minutes. 

    This is necessary, since this will help to reduce swelling and the pain.

  • Clean the area with a sterile cloth 
  • The area will need to be cleaned with a sterile cloth, along with soap and water. 

    It will need to be done with proper care and attention.

  • Apply an ointment to the area 
  • After cleaning away the venom and bacteria, the next step would be to apply an ointment to the area. 

    This will prevent an infection from happening.

  • Make sure to elevate the area
  • If possible, the area must be kept elevated, and under careful observation.

    In the event that the area does not heal, a trip to the emergency room will be the answer.

If treating the bite outdoors with a Survival Snake Bite First Aid KIT, you should:

  • Clean the bite with the sterile gauze swabs 
  • Use a pressure bandage to compress the area

Find out more information on the SMART Bandage from Survival here.

How do you identify venomous spiders?

The simple fact that we are unable to easily identify venomous spiders is very concerning. 

But for that reason, I will guide you on how you can identify two notorious spiders.

  • Identifying an Australian Sydney funnel-web spider
  • This spider is known to be one of the deadliest in the world, with high toxic venom. They usually hide in humid areas, such as backyards. 

    To identify the spider, look out for these features:

    • Hairless, shiny head 
    • Black, or blue-black in colour 
    • 3.5 to 5 cm in size 
    • Large fangs
  • Identifying a Redback spider 
  • Another dangerous spider, they are life-threatening to a child but not as serious to an adult. They are found in dry areas such as garden sheds, toilet seats and mailboxes. 

    To identify the spider, look out for these features:

    • Male redback spiders have white indentations on the upper side of their abdomen, are light brown in colour and 3 to 4 mm in size. They have an hourglass marking on their side as well. 
    • Female redback spiders have a distinctive red stripe on their abdomen and are around 1 cm in size. They are considered to be far more dangerous than male redback spiders. 

Conclusion

In this article we covered the FAQ’s on Australia’s deadliest spider bites.

Having read this article, you will know how to prevent getting bitten, especially from the Sydney Funnel-Web spider.

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