Like a gnarly web, Australian spiders have built a reputation for being dangerous and ferocious. The way these air-breathing arthropods are depicted in popular culture, where they’re usually portrayed as villains or elements of horror, doesn’t help their image. The fact that some of them are venomous and many are small enough to get into the smallest nooks and crannies inside one’s home do nothing to help their cause. However, generally speaking, the presence of these critters doesn’t mean that the people around them are caught in a life-or-death situation.
Not All Spider Bites are Lethal
Spider bites have, in fact, caused deaths before, but it doesn’t happen as often as most people believe. The latest death due to spider bite happened in 2016, a good 37 years after the last occurrence of a similar incident in 1979. Also, out of the thousands of species of spiders in the country, only 2 types have caused human deaths: Sydney Funnel Web Spiders, which is considered to be one of the most venomous spiders in the world, and Redback Spiders. Fortunately, effective anti-venom for these spider bites have been available to the public for decades, and people who have been bitten by these spiders can immediately get their required treatment. Bees and sharks are actually considered to be more dangerous than spiders!
Taking Care of Spider Bites
At the same time, spider bites, even those from species not considered to be deadly, require proper attention. First aid training courses in Brisbane, as well as in other cities, cover the common symptoms of spider bites and how to respond to it properly. Spider bites are often characterized by swelling, the presence of a red welt, and damage to the skin. The affected area can also exhibit itching or rash, pain and cramps, as well as blistering. The patient may also experience nausea and vomiting, sweating, headaches, fever, chills, anxiety, and high blood pressure, among others.
More often than not, spider bites should be treated with simple analgesics and antihistamines for the pain and mild allergic reaction, application of ice packs and lotion, as well as proper rest. The site should also be cleaned properly to avoid infection. In some cases, people hardly show any adverse reaction to spider bites.
When is Medical Attention Necessary?
If you suspect that you have been bitten by a funnel web spider, however, you need to see a medical professional immediately. Make sure to stay calm and call for help by dialing the Triple Zero (000) emergency number. While waiting, apply pressure on the site and refrain from physical activity, taking care not to elevate the site of the bite. If you suspect that a RedBack has bitten you, apply cold compress over the area to help with pain management while waiting for help.
Another thing you should watch out for is anaphylaxis, or severe allergic reaction. This takes place within minutes of getting bitten and is characterized by difficulty in breathing, persistent dizziness, persistent cough, swollen tongue and tightness in the throat, as well as pallor. This also requires emergency medical attention.
How to Avoid the Presence of Spiders in Your Home
Spiders are ever-present in Australia, and it’s not surprising to find one even inside your own home. To minimize unwanted encounters with spiders in your property, make sure that your insect screens are closed if you intend to leave your door or window open. In addition, make it a habit to shake your shoes before putting them on, wear gloves when gardening, wear shoes when walking around, and refrain from using towels and clothes without shaking them first.
Australian spiders may have a terrifying reputation, but reacting to their presence with fear may do more harm than good. They rarely attack unless they’re provoked, so treat them with respect instead and approach each encounter with them with a clear, calm head.