While both the redback spider and the black widow are poisonous, there is a common misconception that the redback spider is as deadly as the black widow. In reality, while both spiders can cause serious health effects, the black widow is much more venomous. Let’s take a closer look at these two species of spiders, their respective dangers, and how to provide first aid instructions for anyone who may come into contact with either one.
How to Identify a Redback Spider?
The redback spider is a species of venomous spider indigenous to Australia. The adult female is easily recognised by her black body with a prominent red stripe on her abdomen and an hourglass-shaped marking on her lower back. Male redback spiders are much smaller than females, often grey or brown.
Where Are They Usually Seen?
Redback spiders are found throughout Australia, including Adelaide CBD, with high concentrations in urban and rural areas and are particularly common in gardens and sheds. These spiders build their webs in sheltered locations such as leaf litter, logs, rocks, or crevices.
Redback Spiders are Venomous
The redback spider is considered to be of medical significance due to the potency of its venom. Bites from these spiders can cause significant pain and suffering and sometimes lead to death.
Cases of Redback Spider Bites in Australia Each Year
Bites usually occur when the spider is disturbed or feels threatened. There are around 2,000 cases of redback spider bites recorded each year. Most of these bites occur in the warmer months, with October to April being the peak period.
Redback Spider Bite Symptoms
Redback spider symptoms can vary depending on the severity of the bite. Signs and symptoms of a spider bite infection include:
Reddening of the skin
This is one of the most common signs of a spider bite infection. The area around the bite will become red and inflamed.
Another common sign of a spider bite infection is swelling. The area around the bite will begin to swell and may even blister.
Many people bitten by a spider will experience pain at the site of the bite. The pain may range from mild to severe, lasting for a few hours or days.
Once the venom from the spider’s bite begins to work its way into the skin, it can cause the skin to crust over. It is a sign that the infection is getting worse and needs treatment.
A fever can be another sign of a spider bite infection, especially if the bite is on the face or neck. If you have a fever, you must see a doctor immediately.
Nausea and Vomiting
Nausea and vomiting are two more signs of a spider bite infection. If you experience either of these, it’s important to see a doctor as soon as possible.
In rare cases, spider bites can cause seizures. If you experience a seizure, seek medical attention immediately. Call triple zero (000)
Reaction to the Venom
In some cases, the venom from a spider bite can cause a serious reaction, even if you’re not allergic to it. Symptoms of a severe reaction include
- difficulty breathing
- chest pain
If you experience any of these symptoms after being bitten by a redback spider, get medical help immediately. Sometimes, bites from this spider can be fatal if left untreated.
First Aid for a Redback Spider
Despite their small size, redback spiders are venomous, and their bites can be dangerous to humans. Here are the first aid practices for redback spider bites.
- Follow DRSABCD
- Apply a cold pack to the affected area to help reduce swelling.
- Keep the affected person calm and still to prevent the spread of venom.
- Seek medical help immediately.
Adelaide first aid training is available at CPR First Aid (RTO NO 21903), a leading provider of compliant and accredited courses all over Australia.
How is the Black Widow Spider Different?
A black widow spider is a venomous spider that is found in warm climates throughout the world. The female black widow spider is notorious for its potent venom, which can be dangerous to humans. Black widow spiders are not aggressive and typically only bite humans in self-defence. However, their bites can cause serious health problems, so It is crucial to know how to handle and treat a bite victim.
Symptoms of a Black Widow Spider Bite
Black widow spider bite signs and symptoms include:
- pain at the bite site
- muscle cramps
- difficulty breathing
First Aid for a Black Widow Spider
If a black widow spider bites you, call 000 immediately. In the meantime, there are some first aid steps that you can take to help ease the pain and swelling.
- Apply ice to the area of the bite to help reduce swelling.
- If possible, elevate the area of the bite to help reduce swelling.
- Gently clean the area of the bite with soap and water.
- Take over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen to help ease pain and swelling.
How to Prevent Spider Bites?
The best way to prevent redback spider bites is to avoid contact with the spiders. Wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts if you must work or play in areas where redbacks are present. Be sure to inspect your clothing for spiders before putting it on. Inspect your shoes and any other gear you will take into the area.
Keep an eye out for webs, and shake out any clothing or gear sitting in an area where spiders are present. If you see a spider, do not approach it or try to kill it. Instead, call a professional to remove it.
How to Get Rid of Redback Spiders?
There are a few things you can do to get rid of redback spiders:
- Remove any food sources they may be feeding on, such as insects or other small animals.
- Keep your home clean and free of clutter where they can hide.
- Use a vacuum cleaner to remove them from their hiding places.
- Seal any cracks or openings in your home that they could use to enter.
- Apply insecticides around the perimeter of your home and in areas where they are commonly found.
In conclusion, one of the unforeseen incidents that could happen in Australia would be spider bites. People of all ages should be aware of the toxicity of venoms from redback and black widow spider bites. The best practices are avoiding these spider species and calling a professional to get rid of them.
However, if the situation calls for it, training in emergency care can be highly beneficial. Give CPR First Aid a call to get more information about first aid courses at Level 1/174 Gilles St, Adelaide 5000. We’ll match you with the best certification class tailored for your needs in a convenient training location as per request, taught by fully qualified trainers.