CPR First Aid

Signs and Symptoms of Spider Bites

It's important to know the signs and symptoms of spider bites so that you can get medical help if necessary. This guide will teach you what to look for in case of a spider bite.

Spider bites are common in Perth, especially since there are numerous species of spiders in West Australia. Spiderbites may generally cause minor to serious signs and symptoms. But, if you can treat them with first aid, the person bitten may not have to suffer for the worst. This is why knowing how to check the signs and symptoms of spider bites is important. Below, you will know what are the first aid treatments and how to acquire the skills in applying them.

Spider bites: What are they?

Spider bites may not be noticeable, but if they do, they will look reddish and inflamed bumps on the skin. Spiderbites are usually itchy and painful.

Spider bites may not be noticeable, but if they do, they will look reddish and inflamed bumps on the skin. Spiderbites are usually itchy and painful.


Are Spider Bites Deadly?

Spider bites are not necessarily deadly to the human race. Many spider bites’ venoms are not strong enough to harm humans. Spider bites are also unlikely unless you threaten, provoke, or surprise a spider. Even though doing any of these may not cost your life, you may still suffer from serious signs and symptoms.

Are there Venomous Spiders in Perth?

Perth, being a part of Western Australia, is not safe from venomous spiders. According to the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, there is a red-back spider found in the state. It is the only spider proven to be lethal. Fortunately, there has been an effective antivenene for this venomous spider since 1956. There are also large trapdoor spiders known to be venomous, but their spider bites are not considered to be life-threatening.

What Does a Red-Back Spider Look Like?

A spider bite from the Red-Back Spider is dangerous. Knowing what this spider looks like may help a first aider know what to do immediately. According to the Australian Museum, a Red-Back Spider has the following appearance:

  1. Females
  • Black in colour (sometimes brown)
  • Have an orange to red longitudinal broken stripe on the upper abdomen
  • Have an “hourglass” shaped red/orange spot on the underside of the abdomen
  • The size of a large pea
  • Slender legs
  1. Juveniles
  • Have additional white markings on the abdomen
  1. Males
  • Light brown body
  • White markings on the upper side of the abdomen
  • Less distinct red markings
  • Have a pale hourglass marking on the underside

What Does a Trapdoor Spider Look Like?

Although spider bites from Trapdoor Spiders are not deadly to humans, the victims will still experience severe signs and symptoms. Being able to identify what this spider looks like would help a first aider to know which first aid steps to do immediately. The Australian museum describes this spider to have short, blunt spinnerets. The male Trapdoor Spiders have a small double spur halfway along their first leg and are smaller than the females. Some families of Trapdoor Spiders have the following appearance:

  1. Brown Trapdoor Spiders
  • Dull brown in colour
  • Have a cover of paler gold hairs on the carapace arched in the side profile
  • Have pale bars across the abdomen
  • The eyes are arranged in two compact rows

2. Sigillate Trapdoor Spiders

  • Brown in colour
  • Have a strongly arched glossy carapace
  • Have 4-6 hairless spots (sigillae) on top of the abdomen
  • The eyes are arranged in three distinct rows.

Common Neighbourhood Spiders in Western Australia

Australia is known to have spiders. Some species of spiders are found only in certain regions. The Government of Western Australia has identified which species are common in the area. Below is a list of the other species of spiders that may be found in cities within the Western territory like Perth:

Signs and Symptoms of Spider Bites

There are different species of spiders found in Perth. These species are known to have spider bites with different signs and symptoms. Knowing what these are will help you or a certified first aider apply first aid treatment immediately. This may reduce the risk of the victim experiencing a severe injury or death.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of a Redback Spider Bite?

As mentioned above, the redback spider is proven to be lethal. Its spider bite may cause the victim to experience the following signs and symptoms according to the Government of Western Australia:

  • Intense localised pain
  • Five minutes after the bite: a feeling of swelling and sweating
  • One hour after the bite: pain and swelling over the body, headache, nausea, and vomiting 
  • Profuse sweating

What are the Signs and Symptoms of a Trapdoor Spider Bite?

Following are the signs and symptoms of a Trapdoor spider bite. Remembering them will help you know what emergency first aid treatment to apply:

  • Local pain
  • Swelling

What are the Other Possible Spider Bite Signs and Symptoms?

Spider bites from a specie may show different signs and symptoms from another species. However, there are still noticeable similarities among many of them such as:

  • Redness
  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Cramping
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Tremors
  • Sweating

First Aid Treatment for Spider Bites

After experiencing a spider bite, a patient is recommended to stay calm. A first aid treatment should then be applied. It generally includes the following steps:

  1. Cleaning the wound
  2. Applying cool compress
  3. Elevating the affected area
  4. Taking a pain reliever, antihistamine, or antibiotics if needed

Once the first aid response is done, it is important to observe the spider bite. Its infection may worsen and the victim may experience further signs and symptoms. These may occur especially if the first aid treatment was not done correctly or immediately.

Identifying the appearance or even the name of the spider is important. This may help a first aider and a medical professional to advise on the next steps.

How Long Does a Spider Bite Take to Get Serious?

If first aid was provided correctly and immediately, a spider bite from a non-venomous spider is not likely to get serious. However, spider bites should still be observed within a certain time frame to see if it leads to serious signs and symptoms. This should be done whether first aid care was administered or not. Spider bites should be observed within the following timeline:

  • After 1 hour: the spider bite may start to turn red
  • After 8 hours: the spider bite may turn hard and swollen
  • After 24 hours: the spider bite may discharge fluids and turn black

If the above spider bite signs and symptoms persist, it is recommended to seek medical help.

How can the worst-case scenario be avoided?

Fortunately, spider bites’ signs and symptoms may be treated and there is an available antivenene. First aid management plays an important role in getting this done and preventing the worst-case scenario. Now, the question is, do you know how to apply the appropriate first aid treatment to every spider bite sign and symptom? Are you trained to stay calm during these situations? Do you have the first aid certificate to respond to other people’s spider bite cases?

How will a First Aid Course Help?

First aid treatment for a spider bite is ideally performed by certified responders. They are skilled and knowledgeable to provide first aid care to the signs and symptoms of spider bites and other emergencies. If you want to acquire the same first aid certificate, you may want to enrol in a first aid course.


Spider bites may cause different signs and symptoms. First aid treatment is important to apply to prevent the spider bite from getting worse. After the first aid care, it is still important to observe the spider bite for further infection. If you want to be prepared in case of a spider bite emergency, you may want to acquire a first aid certificate by enrolling in an accredited first aid course provider in Perth.

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