Redback Spider Bites

Redback spiders are one of the most misunderstood species of spiders in Australia. Many people think that Redback bites are a lot more serious than they actually are. Generally speaking, Redback bites are only of concern for young children and the elderly. Additionally, Redback spiders are not proactively out to get you. They are generally not aggressive and rarely leave their web (CSIRO).

Common signs and symptoms for a Redback bite may include:

  • pain
  • vomiting
  • sweating
  • weaknesses
  • muscle spasm
  • fever.

A lot of people think that the First Aid treatment for a Redback bite is to apply a pressure immobilisation bandage to the bite site. However, in doing so, you may actually increase the pain at the site, for the victim. In addition, the Redback venom is also comparatively slower acting and casualties rarely get seriously ill within three hours (ARC).

The Australian Resuscitation Council recommends that First Aiders should treat the bite by applying ice or a cold compress to the site. This is mainly aimed at pain relief. The First Aider should monitor the casualty and transport them to hospital if the casualty is a young child, collapse occurs or they fall seriously ill.

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