Spider Bites – Redback Spider

The spider (approximately 1 cm in body length) and has a characteristic red, orange, or pale stripe on its back.  A bite may threaten the life of a child or a sick elderly person but is rarely serious for an adult.

The treatment for the bite is also different than that for a funnel web. These spiders can be found all over Australia.

Recognition (Redback Spider)

Symptoms and signs may include:

  • Immediate pain at the bite site which becomes hot, red and swollen.
  • Intense local pain which increases and spreads
  • Nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain.
  • Profuse sweating, especially at the bite site
  • Swollen tender glands in the groin or armpit of the envenomated limb.

Management (Redback Spider)

A Redback Spider (Photo by Ian Waldie/Getty Images)
  • D.R.S.A.B.C.D.
  • Keep casualty under constant supervision.
  • Apply an ice compress to reduce the pain (for periods no longer than 20 minutes).
  • Transport the victim to a medical facility, preferably by ambulance.

The Pressure Immobilisation Technique is NOT to be used because the venom acts slowly and any attempt to retard its movement tends to increase local pain.