First Aid Information: Spider bite

Many cases of redback spider bite are mild, resulting in only moderate local pain. These cases do not require antivenom, but may benefit from the topical application of ice packs for local pain relief. Pressure-immobilisation first aid is not recommended due to the slow progression of symptoms, and since it may increase the severity of local pain. Antivenom is required in cases which present with more than mild to moderate local pain or with systemic symptoms or signs of envenomation, such as headache, dizziness, nausea and vomiting.

Other spiders, including the brown house spider, Steatoda, can cause mild to moderate systemic signs and symptoms similar to those of the redback. In these cases, the same principles of treatment apply as in the case of redback spiders.

There are also many species whose bite may cause local pain, redness or swelling. Ice packs can be used for pain relief in such cases. Where unusual changes occur to the area, medical advice is best sought.

Tetanus immunisation status should be updated if necessary in any circumstances where skin has been punctured under unclean conditions.