First Aid for Spider Bites
FIRST AID for Funnel-Web Spider
The patient should be kept calm and rested; all undue movement should be
Reassure the patient - their life is not in danger - an anti-venom is available
at the hospital.
A pressure / immobilisation bandage should be firmly applied (but not tight)
wrapping the entire limb bitten - similar as for a sprained ankle. This
compresses the tissue, thus reducing the flow of venom along the limbs.
A second bandage can be applied to immobilise the affected limb using a splint.
This will minimise movement of the muscle of the affected limb in order to
reduce the rate of blood flow and venom therein to the vital organs of the body.
Seek Medical Aid immediately !
Call the AMBULANCE on 000
rather than transport the victim.
If safe to do so, collect the spider for identification.
Symptoms of a Funnel-Web Spider Bite
Unlike snake bites, the person feels great pain at the site of the bite.
Nausea and abdominal pain follow.
The person will also experience difficulty in breathing 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 Australia carry an effective
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.
FIRST AID for Red-Back & Other
As the venom of the red-back and other spiders moves very slowly, any attempt to
restrict its progress would only serve to increase the associated pain, which
can be excruciating. Do not bandage (except for funnel-web spider bite - see
The patient should be kept calm and reassured; all undue movement should be
Use an ice-pack on the bite site to reduce the swelling.
Medical First Aid should be sought immediately. Many hospitals and ambulance
vehicles carry the Red-back anti-venom. If safe to do so, take the spider to the
hospital for identification.
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.