What It’s Really Like to Be Bitten by a Redback Spider

I think you know what’s coming. But before that, an important message.

I realise that some of you may have found this page because you have just been bitten by a Redback Spider and you want to know what to do. You are looking for urgent medical advice.

Here it is…

Redback Spider First Aid AdviseOn with the post. This is the story of when I was bitten, what it was like and why I didn’t go to hospital. I did seek medical advice though, speaking to a doctor and you will be able to read the advice I was given.

Finally, in the comments below you will find stories from many people who have been bitten by the redback and how it was for them.

The Australian Redback Spider

One of Australia’s most feared spiders is the Redback. Just before I moved here to Australia, one of my friends back in the UK who had lived and worked in Australia for a year at some point, told me that Redbacks were so strong and powerful that they could actually bite your foot through your thongs. (That’s flip-flops to us English).

Dave, you were talking twaddle!

But what is it really like to be bitten by a Redback Spider? The chances of finding out are quite remote, most sources quote around 2,000 Redback bites occur in Australia each year. So by my maths I would have a one in 10,000 chance of finding out.

Lucky, lucky me……… On Saturday, I found out!

So here’s what happened. On Saturday at around four o’clock in the afternoon, as the sun was getting cooler, I decided to do a bit of tidying up in the garden. It’s autumn here and a perfect time for trimming back the weeds and the overgrowth just ahead of winters dry weather.

By about a 5:45 PM I’d finished chopping off all the excess growths and I was picking up all of my trimmings in large bunches, carrying them up the driveway and throwing them all into one big pile. It was getting quite dark so I couldn’t really see much.

All of a sudden, whilst transporting one of these bunches I became aware of intense pain in the back of my wrist. The pain grew quite fast and although I have never hammered a nail into any part of my body, this was how I imagined it would feel.

As the pain grew even more, I decided to go in doors and take a look at it under the light. This is what I saw……

redback biteNothing!

Well, if anything, a very very tiny barely visible white mosquito bite like bump was all I could see. But the area around the pain was starting to look red and flushed.

Then it started to sweat, but just in that little circle where the pain was, nowhere else. I’ve never seen anything like it. I took a shower…….. that’s just something I like to do now and then…… and I washed off all the sweat at the same time. But out of the shower after having dried myself, I watched as the beads of sweat formed another circle around the back of my wrist again.

But by now the intense nail penetration like pain of before was fading, which was good news. But that pain was being replaced by a new, burning pain, which was bad news. But given the choice though, I preferred the burning.

Intrigued, I decided I would ask Google Australia what had bitten me, so I searched for “identify bite sweat” because for me, the localised sweating was the identifying factor. And that’s when I discovered that most of my search results led to the Redback Spider bite.

“Can’t be,” I thought “those things kill!” (Well, they haven’t since 1956.)

The more I read about the Redback bite, the more likely it seemed that it was a Redback that bit me.

  • Bites occur typically when the spider is disturbed in the garden or shed. (Tick)
  • The initial bite may not be felt. (Tick)
  • Puncture marks are not always visible. (Tick)
  • Local intense pain follows after about five minutes. (Tick, probably, I didn’t feel the bite remember.)
  • Localised sweating often occurs around the bite. (Tick)
  • May cause a burning sensation. (Tick)

By now it was around 6:30 PM and many of the websites I had visited advised anyone bitten to seek immediate medical attention. But I was feeling just fine and to be truthful, the pain subsided and was now really quite manageable. My only symptom was still the red flushing, some burning and the 2 inch circle of sweaty and very sticky skin.

But I had also read in my research that the Redback Spider’s venom was very slow acting and took a long time to find its way around your body. I didn’t like the idea of turning green and warty at midnight and thinking “Dang! I should have got some antivenom.” So I telephoned my doctor who was very helpful last time we had an emergency out of hours.

My Doctors Advice

He was out but his wife (also a doctor) answered the phone and she was very helpful. Here’s what she had to say….

Lots of people get bitten by Redback Spiders and for most it is not a problem. It is only a very small minority who suffer a reaction and if it is going to happen, it will happen within around three hours. So the next couple of hours are critical. If you suffer from palpitations, nausea, vomiting, headaches, difficulty breathing, abdominal pains or a fever any time before 9 PM, get yourself to a hospital. We don’t carry the antivenom here at our local surgery.

Take an antihistamine tablet if you have one, use an ice pack to ease the pain if you want to and drink plenty of water.

Well I didn’t take an antihistamine, I didn’t use an ice pack but I did take some of her advice about drinking plenty of water. When I say “some”, I took note of the “drink plenty” part and ignored the “of water”. I hit the beer fridge!

Well, that’s what happened when I got bitten by a Redback Spider. Was it a Redback? Well, just after I came off of the phone to the doctor, Beninoz and his family arrived. We were having a slap up a pizza together. Yum!

Before I told him anything of my research, I showed him the bite and asked him what he thought it was. “Redback” was his answer. The next day I spoke to Lisa, a born and bred Aussie who was bitten by a Redback when she was a little girl.

Did you get the burning? Did you get the intense pain? Was there no sign of an actual bite? Sounds like a Redback to me.” was her verdict.

Medical disclaimer!

I can never be 100% certain it was a Redback bite, but I would say I am 90% sure. For me, it was nowhere near as bad as I would have thought it would be. Getting bitten by a Redback Spider would have ranked really high on my list of things NOT to do. Now that it has happened, well, it wasn’t so bad.

Maybe I’m just lucky I’m not one of the minority who react badly, maybe my Redback was just a tiny little Redback, maybe my Redback got brushed off of my wrist before she had finished envenomation, or maybe my Redback wasn’t a Redback at all.

Either way, my experience wasn’t that bad. But according to my research, around 250 Redback Spider antivenom are administered each year here in Australia. So it sounds to me like over 10% of those bitten do react badly and will need medical attention, which is what many websites recommend that you seek. Which is, I suppose, what I did, having phoned my doctor.

So I am not going against the advice given in any other website, I’m just letting you know what happened to me. If it had been my daughter who was bitten, she’d have been straight off to hospital. But I will say that the Redback Spider bite, for some, may well not be anywhere near as bad as you thought it would be.

If you’ve been bitten by a Redback Spider, I’d love to hear if you think it was a Redback that bit me. What was your experience like? There’s no need to register, just enter your comment below.

Did anything else happen on Saturday? Yes, actually it did. And this event really should have ended in death. But I’ll tell you about that tomorrow.

redback spider

Image courtesy of Wikimedia

Update: December 2013

Redback Spider antivenom doesn’t work!

Yes, apparently it’s true. We had a comment from Jenn below (19th of December 2013) who had been bitten by a Redback Spider and despite being in some quite obvious trouble, the doctors treating her did not use antivenom.

They gave her steroids, antihistamines, she was put on a nebuliser and I believe also given adrenaline. But no antivenom. This surprised me so I did a little research, and found an article from just last month by ABC News.

That’s comforting, isn’t it? It will be interesting to see how this one develops.

Update: March 2014

Not so fast! Let’s get a second opinion on this from a doctor who has treated many envenomated patients over the years. See what he has to say in my post…

Update: May 2014

There was one more question I wished I had asked in the above-mentioned interview, but I forgot. It’s a question that has also been raised and answered in the comments below, but it would have been lovely to have got the opinion of an expert such as Professor Julian White.

Fortunately for me I got a second chance, and you can read the answer by visiting the following post…

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{ 366 comments… add one }
  • Scott April 14, 2015, 9:04 pm | Link

    I got bit by a red back about 8 years ago – in Summer – I often leave my joggers out the front and don’t wear socks in the holidays – I put my shoe on and felt a bit of pain.

    Within about 20 seconds the pain got worse, and I removed my shoe – within 60 seconds the pain was quite sharp – I shook out my shoe and there it was, a redback spider.

    My brave wife caught it in a jar and off we went to a medical centre. I was in significant pain within 5 minutes of the bite, and the medical centre advised me to go straight to the hospital, where I spent 7 hours in a hospital bed receiving antivenom and a shot of morphein.

    The pain on my toe was very much like what I would assume a cigarette lighter to feel like – agony. I will add the caveat that for a bloke I tend to have a fairly low pain threshold and I was a bit spooked by it being a red back, but for the size of the spider the pain was as bad or worse than anything I have ever felt.

    Helpful site this – overall they are a scary experience but you do get through – no nasty side effects after, just a fun story to tell – although NOT fun at the time!

    Scott…

    • BobinOz April 15, 2015, 1:58 am | Link

      Well they don’t resort to the antivenom without good reason, so low pain threshold or not, you must have had a reaction and you must have been in a bit of trouble for the hospital to give you a shot.

      Glad to hear you got over it pretty quickly, although not everybody does. We’ve had a few comments above from people for whom the pain has gone on and for months, and in some cases if I remember, more than a year.

      Some of these bites can be quite nasty.

      Anyway, have you started banging your joggers on the floor before you put them on these days?

      Cheers Scott, Bob

  • aussiegreg March 20, 2015, 4:52 pm | Link

    That’s correct Bob, I was just bitten a few hours ago..

    Hers á tip..Be careful when taking photos close-up of a redback spider..Just spent 30 min on the phone to 000, then emergency and finally just went to the local Chemist..I was taking a really close shot when my finger hit its body and it lunged at me and I was sure it bit me..I started to sweat and my finger went numb and red..Looking at the marks, I think I pulled away as it was lunging and it just scratched the skin. Lucky..All I Need *S..

    The spider I was taking photos of

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10153167832785763&set=pcb.10153167835415763&type=1&theater

    • BobinOz March 20, 2015, 7:43 pm | Link

      If it’s any consolation aussiegreg, it’s a really good picture 🙂

      I’ll bear in mind your tip, maybe I will use the zoom if I get the chance to take a picture of one of these things. Pity you didn’t get a video of the spider lunging at you, that would’ve been sweet 🙂

      Hope you’re not too sore, Bob

  • Luke March 12, 2015, 7:41 am | Link

    Just got bit by one of the little critters only a small one I went to lay down on my bed and felt a little mossy bite before rolling over and finding a dead red back! It was about an hour ago and crikey the pain is getting worse as I write this, hope it goes away this post really helped by the way put me at ease when I initially panicked there’s nothing that can hurt you in New Zealand , should of moved there is all im thinking.

    • BobinOz March 12, 2015, 9:03 pm | Link

      Glad this post has helped Luke, but seriously, New Zealand? It’s not the answer, there’s something that can hurt you in every country and I’m sure New Zealand has one of those somethings.

      One day, you’ll look back at this and laugh 🙂

  • Rick March 10, 2015, 6:28 pm | Link

    Yes, you can’t keep a good woman down, she was out on her tractor again today giving the paddock curry. That tiny bite really did hit her for six, the ear muffs are now kept inside.

    • BobinOz March 10, 2015, 8:10 pm | Link

      What a gal, that’s the spirit 🙂

  • Rick March 7, 2015, 9:09 am | Link

    The doctor spent some time on the phone talking to a toxicologist who suggested that the antivenom should be given sparingly as the side effects can be worse than the bite. There was an article on the ABC science show “Catalyst” a week or so ago discussing this subject. It appears that more research and tests have been conducted recently which show that the antivenom has little or no benefit in reducing the effect of the bite. Of course for every expert who states an opinion there will always be another who refutes it.

    the doctor made an informed decision to hold off with the antivenom and keep her under observation.

    my RFS first aid manual states “A red back spider bite can cause a severe illness to a baby or small child but is not associated with the sudden deterioration of the victim …..seek prompt medical advice if the victim is a baby or small child”.

    After my wife’s experience I would suggest that all bites warrant an immediate visit to the hospital where the medical stall will decide what treatment is needed.

    • BobinOz March 9, 2015, 2:26 pm | Link

      Yes, I think the redback antivenom debate will rage on for a while yet, meanwhile those who get bitten will simply have to go with the decisions made by whichever doctor they get on the day. Hopefully though, your wife is all okay now. Is that gate fixed yet? 🙂

  • Rick March 6, 2015, 1:50 pm | Link

    I doubt that my wife will help me in the paddock in future. before mounting the tractor she put on all the necessary protective clothing (boots, gloves, earmuffs etc) however failed to check inside the earmuffs. of course, the red back which had made its home in the earmuff was not happy and let her know it. Being a very tough 70 year old she insisted on driving herself to Mudgee hospital where she received immediate attention at emergency. as there is now some doubt as to the effectiveness of the antivenin she was only treated with ice packs to the ear and morphine for the very severe pain. she was released from hospital 48 hours later after her blood pressure fell from a high 207 to a manageable 150. she is now resting in bed and the gate is still not repaired.

    • BobinOz March 6, 2015, 5:39 pm | Link

      Maybe she’ll be right in the morning and can get on with fixing that gate. Just kidding.

      Are you saying the hospital deliberately did not give her antivenom as they now believe it doesn’t work? This is something that is very much refuted by Prof Julian White, he is a renowned antivenom expert. There is a link towards the end of the above article to an interview I did with him about the efficacy of antivenom.

      Hope your wife gets better soon, sounds nasty, a red back biting your ears!

  • Lee Murrah February 10, 2015, 8:38 pm | Link

    I was gardening near Geraldton,WA and had the same experience but the pain lasted 3 days. No redness or bump at area of bite but lots of localized sweating.I found that baking soda or ground up anti-acid tablets gave a lot of relief. I thought it might have been a Mouse Spider also since there was a round hole in the soil where I was digging barehanded.

    • BobinOz February 11, 2015, 12:36 am | Link

      Localised sweating could be anyone of a few spiders I think, including Mouse Spiders and the Redback. Digging bear handed is not a great idea 🙂

      Sounds like you’re all right now.

  • chris January 21, 2015, 12:44 am | Link

    I got bitten a few years ago. Made the mistake of putting my shoes on without socks on. Have to say it burnt like hell and it didnt take long for the venom to travel from my foot to my groin area. If i could discribe the pain it felt almost like intense growing pains when you were a young child. Ended up at the hospital and needed anti-venom. Definitely not something id enjoy going through again. I was told by the hospital staff that redback bites are often much more painful than a lot of snake bites!!

    • BobinOz January 21, 2015, 8:00 pm | Link

      Sounds painful, not sure it was the lack of socks that was the problem though, does anybody know if a redback bite can penetrate a sock?

      Maybe you should get into the habit of bashing your shoes on the floor before putting them on to make sure nothing is inside.

  • Cas December 28, 2014, 11:25 pm | Link

    I found this while looking for information on red back bites in kids, I’ve recently discovered that around the outside of my house is swarming with red back spiders, lot of them huge! I don’t want to kill them but ever since last summer when I got bitten by a tiny almost unseen baby red back spider I’ve been very concerned about my kids coming in contact with one. I have three little boys, (3yrs, 18months and 3weeks old).
    My experience with the bite was awful! The pain was beyond anything I’ve ever felt before!!
    It happened when I was putting my eldest son back to bed after a nightmare, I was half asleep and lent against the window frame, after going back to bed I thought maybe I got a splinter from the wooden frame, after taking a quick look and finding nothing I went back to bed, I woke 40mins later because of the intense pain in the tip of my right middle finger. I took a look and saw it was red and around the nail bed was swelling. I didn’t get any sleep and by 6am my finger was huge and around the skin around the nail was coming away from the nail. It looked gross and the pain was unbearable, I decided something had bitten me and searched my sons room, remembering the window I found some web near a crack in the paint, I convinced my sons dad to get the spider out alive, I know red backs appearance pretty well and when I saw it I was terrified I would die from a tiny little spider. My sons dad was sure if I was gonna die it would’ve happened already (I knew he was right) but he was wrong when he said I had survived the worst. My finger swelled more and my skin peeled away from the nail so the tip of my finger was a bloody mess, on the next morning I was shivering and twitchy and the pain had started coming up my arm, my mum came to help with the kids as I decided I wasn’t able to do much for them myself in this state, I made an appointment with my doctor who told me that less than a third of bites actually required treatment’s and the worst was over and she sent me home with pain killers. The painkillers didn’t work at all, it was awful until day 3 when it peaked and I nearly chopped my finger off, (NOT JOKING). then it just felt super on fire kind of hot until my nail fell off day 5 then everything was over and the skin healing by day 7.

    I had an awful long drawn out horrid experience with a baby spider, I’m terrified of the huge ones I’ve been seeing this summer around my house. How bad are they to kids, or is it like adults ‘different for every individual’?

    • Cas December 28, 2014, 11:38 pm | Link

      Also as for sweating around the bite, I was sweating all over since the pain started.plus the teeth chattering shivers and my twitching muscles. It was truly horrid. I always loved insects and spider, snakes and all those thing others find scary.. Until that bite, it made me realise something little fragile and seemingly weak can completely disable me very easily

      • BobinOz December 29, 2014, 11:45 pm | Link

        Hi Cas

        Sounds pretty awful what you went through and understandably you are worried about your children. With good reason as well, a young child bitten by a redback would be very likely to suffer far more than an adult from the same bite. If you look through these comments, many people have mentioned that, and Jeanie (see comments above around June 2014) tells of how her grandson was bitten and how it affected him.

        Like yourself, I don’t think it’s a good idea to kill spiders, but I think in this instance you have to put your kids first. I would get your house treated by a pest control company and also have them check the outside in the garden. You need to remove these readback spiders from the area because, quite simply, our children come first.

        Good luck, Bob

  • Johnny December 28, 2014, 6:49 pm | Link

    I was bitten on the hand by a red back when I lived in Brissie bout 10 years ago. Don’t remember too much pain but did have a faint red line going up my arm. Apparently there is a gland in your armpit that stops the poison from spreading. I went to the chemist and she told me this. No big deal really but always best to be safe rather than sorry.
    I would say the hairy caterpillars they have are worse. You don’t build up any resistance to them so every time they nail ya its worse than the last time.
    Caught a juvenile Gwardar snake ( bout 18 inch long) working at night in the Pilbara earlier this year and called the onsite snake handler up to relocate it. He told me the young ones can be deadly because they haven’t worked out yet to regulate their venom and let ya have the lot. Never heard that before but could be plausible.
    The most deadly I came across must be a certain woman from NSW. She was simply drop dead gorgeous haha

    • BobinOz December 29, 2014, 11:24 pm | Link

      Hi Johnny, yes, I’ve heard the same thing about juvenile snakes, more dangerous than adults I’ve been told. I followed an eastern brown with my camera on this post…

      https://www.bobinoz.com/blog/3904/snakes-in-australia-my-first-real-live-encounter/

      And said I wasn’t concerned about the snake because it was so small, many people have since told me that’s when they are at their most dangerous. Same thing, they don’t know how to do dry bites to warn you as adults snakes do and when they do nail you, they hit you with all of their venom.

      Scarier than that NSW woman 🙂

      Cheers, Bob

  • Karl December 21, 2014, 7:56 am | Link

    Hi
    I did a workout just down the road neat home where they are getting a new sub division ready. I was throwing some rocks around then pushed a bolder around for 20 mins then ran home. With in 30-60mins started to feel off, dizziness, lethargy, shortness of breath, chills through the arms & back with the hairs on my arms standing up & feeling very weak. We went to ED as I felt I may have a problem with my morphine pump (had since 2000 spinal passion). After all sorts of blood tests, xrays, CT scans, after 4 days they thought I may have been bitten by a redback.
    At no stage did anyone check for a bite & I was to stuffed to check my self. My morphine pump was checked out, all ok.

    Unable to work out the cause I was sent home. I have been in & out of hospital over the past 3.5 weeks. I have no pain, however I have a high heat rate resting 85-100 (normal 54-60).
    I get tired quickly, I went Christmas shopping yesterday with my wife, felt like I had run a couple of marathons & fell asleep in the car.
    I did find what looks like a bite on the inside of my ankle- 2 puncture marks surrounded by a red circle about 6mm across.
    It’s nearly be a month & I still feel off.

    Is there anyone else out there that has had a similar event.

    Cheers
    Karl

    • BobinOz December 22, 2014, 9:11 pm | Link

      Hi Karl

      Sounds like you’ve been suffering, and yes, quite a few people have mentioned high heart rates after being bitten. Have you read all of the comments above yet? Lisa, for example, from May 13, 2014, had quite a bad reaction and displayed some of the symptoms you appear to have had.

      Somebody else in this thread, can’t remember who, had symptoms that lasted for ages, much longer than a month. But I do hope they get to the bottom of your problem sometime soon and you make a full recovery.

      Cheers, Bob

  • alison December 20, 2014, 7:55 pm | Link

    I have been in Oz for 23 tears and had my first redback bite while cleaning out under the house 45 days ago. I had local pain (not immediately) and as it was between my 4th and little finger, the joint swelled and I had difficulty moving those fingers for 3 days. I also experienced vomiting and gastric upset for 24 hours, as well as feeling nauseated and unwell for the following 3 days. I did not seek medical advice as I am a nurse and tend to be a bit blase about these things, also, I have better things to do than spend 3 hours in ED. All ok now but I advise that you go to the doctor if you have any of these symptoms as a prescription of antihistamines would help. The advice about teaching children of the dangers is good and spraying any areas which could harbour the critters will help to prtect them, although I am not generally an advocate of spraying. Good luck to all coming to Australia – I hope you settle quicker than I did!

    • BobinOz December 22, 2014, 7:56 pm | Link

      Yes, I think it’s good advice for anybody who experiences nausea or vomiting to seek medical assistance as soon as possible, better to be safe than sorry. Like yourself, I’m not a big fan of spraying, but when you have kids around the place I think it makes sense to have it done.

      One bite in 23 years isn’t bad, but I suspect there are people living here who have never been bitten in the whole lives. Glad to hear you are all okay now.

      Cheers, Bob

  • Sue Carter December 20, 2014, 11:27 am | Link

    Hi Bob and fellow Bite Sufferers
    I was bitten 40 hrs ago. The Beast was on a garden chair here Western Victoria. I didn’t feel the initial bite, I just had the impression a very nasty mossie had got me on the wrist. It was 9pm. I went home and went to bed. At 1am yesterday I woke up because of the pain in my wrist. Being a nurse I took two panadol and put an ice pack on it and tried to go back to sleep. At that point I’d rate the pain as 5/10. At 0300 the pain was 7.5/10 and I figured I’d been bitten by a spider, that I needed stronger pain killers, and I’d get over it soon. I went up to the hospital. At the hospital I was happy to consult with the Emergency Nurse. At this point I had a pink area on my wrist about 6cm in diameter and a knawing ache around my wrist. The area of the bite felt damp with sweat. The nurse gave me 10mg endone, 2 naprosen and a tetanus injection.
    I went home. The drugs had no effect and the pain got worse. I then Goggled red back spider bite and started reading all these great posts. I was really bummed out, as Christmas is a week away and it looks like this bite can make you sick for ages.
    At 8am I went back to the hospital and saw a doctor. He offered ongoing analgesics or antivenom. We decided to keep going with analgesics but that I could come back for the antivenom if I wanted to risk it (given the side-effects). At 8am I took another endone and a Phenergan. My blood pressure was up and I felt cold.
    The pain increased to 8.5/10. It went from my finger tips to my elbow. It was a deep ache that came in waves every few minutes. At 11am I vomited. I2 noon I took 10mg endone, one phenergan and two Panadine Forte. This had no effect.
    At 3pm I went back to the hospital. My blood pressure was up. The pain was 8.5.
    At 4pm I had the antivenom. I chose the IV route because I was so cold that I thought if I had an anaphylactic reaction to the antivenom the doctors would have a hard time getting a drip into me. Better have one ready. Anyway, they gave me two ampules of the antivenom IV. I left the hospital an hour latter. At this point the pain was the same, but the bite mark on my wrist was fading. Because I hadn’t seen the spider, this effect of the antivenom confirmed beyond doubt that I had been bitten by a red back. Three hours after receiving the antivenom the pain was gone! I vomited again at 7.30 pm, again with no warning. Went to bed and had a great sleep.
    It is now 20 hrs since I had the antivenom. I have a slight ache / soreness centred on the bite area, pain = 1/10. I feel great.
    I was warned that at some point in the next few weeks I might develope serum sickness. If I do I’m to return to the hospital. The management is apparently a short course of steroids.
    If you are reading this because you’ve just been bitten – good luck, I hope your outcome is as good as mine. Cheers Sue

    • BobinOz December 22, 2014, 7:40 pm | Link

      Hooray for antivenom! Obviously it worked for you and brought your pain under control pretty quickly. I’m not sure if you clicked through on those links towards the end of the post, a story broke about antivenom not working and then Prof Julian White, who I interviewed personally, defended antivenom quite strongly. If you read my interview with him he clearly says that antivenom can prevent weeks of misery and pain in some patients.

      Looks like one of those patients is you.

      I just want to make one correction to your excellent comment about the redback spider bite and that’s to say that I hope anybody else who gets bitten has an outcome as good as me, not you :-), because yours was much more painful than my experience. Although in the end you had a pretty good outcome yourself.

      Have a very Merry and pain free Christmas.

      Cheers, Bob

  • Loraine Fromm December 8, 2014, 3:51 pm | Link

    No it is definitely not chicken pox, I had that as a child.
    I have not stopped working as it helps with the itching but I think it is running out of puff now. There is less itching and some are beginning to clear up.
    As the first one stopped swelling I could then see a hole in the center of it so can only presume it was a bite of some sort.
    I told myself on the fifth day, if it has not killed me by now it never will.
    lj

    • BobinOz December 9, 2014, 3:11 pm | Link

      Starting to sound like some kind of allergic reaction to me, I’d still be inclined to check it out with a doctor. I’m really not sure that if something hasn’t killed you by the fifth day it never will is a hard and fast medical rule 🙂

      • Hilary December 9, 2014, 8:45 pm | Link

        Lorraine, just to say that it is definitely possible to get chickenpox twice. I had it as an adult and gave it to a friend of mine who’d already had it as a child. She wasn’t best pleased! I really hope it isn’t for your sake as I don’t think I’ve been so ill as I was for those 3 weeks and the exhaustion stayed for a long time afterwards.

  • Loraine Fromm December 6, 2014, 9:32 am | Link

    I had two flat red patches come up on my right arm. I could not see a bite mark so put some itch cream on it and went about my day. That was a few days ago but since then I have had many of them come up on my right arm then on my neck chin and face. That was followed by more on both my legs. They bubble up like blistering and the first two looked like they were spreading out and softening the skin a bit like the white tail bite. I have never seen a white tail here but have been bitten by one.
    I am allergic to a lot of things that bite so I tended to ignore this until this morning when I move my bedside table to clean and bingo – there was a red back so I went hunting and found another near the floor by my tall boy.
    I don’t know if anyone else has had this kind of reaction but these things itch and are driving me crazy.
    Not sure if I was bitten by the red back or am having some other kind of allergic reaction.

    • Hilary December 6, 2014, 9:25 pm | Link

      Chicken pox??

      • BobinOz December 8, 2014, 2:53 pm | Link

        I think you need to pay a visit to your doctor to find out whatever it is. As Hilary says, it could be chickenpox, but it could be any number of things, best to see the doctor.

        Good luck, do let us know how it goes, Bob

  • Donna November 22, 2014, 10:15 am | Link

    Hi Bob

    I just stumbled across this blog today. I thought I would share my story with you. 9 years ago I was bitten by a very large female twice on the back. At the time I was feeding my 3 month old son who had been just sent home from hospital with a diagnosis of cystic fibrosis. A whole other story to tell (lol). I was bitten on New Years eve around midday. I had my nightgown on as we all know when we have babies we are either too tired or too busy to get out of our pyjamas. It felt like a mozzie bite at the time. The pain went straight to my groin and down my legs. My husband proceeded to kill the spider and I mean really kill it

    • BobinOz November 24, 2014, 4:46 pm | Link

      Hi Donna

      Sounds painful, but it also sounds as though you didn’t need hospital treatment. Hope the pain did not last too long. Cheers, Bob

  • Ian November 6, 2014, 7:57 pm | Link

    Just got bitten today little devil got me twice.
    Went to the medical centre for advise as I had been bitten on the back and had severe pain in my shoulder, underarm and it felt like someone has given me a dead arm.
    I was given an ECG, blood pressure check and all was fine so was sent home.
    It’s now about six hours since the bites and every muscle in my body is aching.
    Hoping like he’ll the symptoms go away soon……very very painful!,

    • BobinOz November 6, 2014, 9:37 pm | Link

      Sounds nasty, as you probably know if you’ve read many of the comments here, reactions differ vastly from person to person. Hopefully your aches go away soon, but for a very small number of people it seems to linger for a while.

      I hope for your sake you’re not one of them. If you get the chance, let us know how you feel in a few days time.

      Cheers, Bob

  • Simone October 30, 2014, 12:06 am | Link

    This was a good read because I wanted to know what it was like to be bitten. When I was little I had a rusty nail go through my toe (fleshy part) yes it hurt too. I’ve come very close today. I was on my lunch break out back pushed my chair in & my finger felt something funky under the handle. When I turned my chair over I cringed because there were 3 spider sacks & in the corner was the big fat mumma REDBACK. I nearly died not literally lol.. I so glad she didn’t have her way with me.

    • BobinOz October 31, 2014, 12:03 am | Link

      A close escape Simone, if you had have died, you would have been the first one since the 70s 🙂 I’m not sure if the comments on this post have helped you much, people’s reaction to these bites varies wildly, from it doesn’t hurt very much at all, to aaarrrgh!

      Hopefully you don’t get to find out which one applies to you.

  • Narelle October 16, 2014, 8:49 am | Link

    I know this is an old bog post, but I just stumbled across it this morning as I was looking for information on redbacks. My daughters school has lots of them, always finding them in the classrooms etc. I emailed the school principal about it yesterday as when I moved her bag yesterday morning there was a redback on it. I know it didn’t come from our house as I hate spiders and we get our house and garden sprayed every year. Anyway she has had a mosquito bite on her thigh for a day or so, has been a little itchy but not like a normal mozzy bite. This morning I noticed that she has a distinct red patch around the bite, I guess its about the size of a 20 cent piece. I am just a bit concerned now that perhaps it is a redback bite. She was complaining about it stinging yesterday morning but other than that she is fine. Maybe I should give her an antihystamine when she gets home from school or is it too late now.

    • BobinOz October 16, 2014, 7:32 pm | Link

      Hi Narelle

      Obviously I can’t say for sure, but that distinct red patch around the bite is exactly what I had, so it could possibly be a readback bite. My doctor told me that if you don’t suffer a bad reaction within two or three hours, you’ll be just fine. If you’re daughter hasn’t shown any reaction, then she will probably be okay.

      If you are unsure though, or concerned, I would definitely take her to the doctors. But some bites just sting for a while and then go away, others can be much more painful as you will probably know if you’ve read some of the above comments.

      Good luck, I hope your daughter is well. I’d be trying to get the school to organise a major pest control though if I were you.

      Cheers, Bob

  • Lee Clarke August 13, 2014, 11:47 am | Link

    You ignored the doctors advice and got a beer?? What an idiot.

    • BobinOz August 13, 2014, 8:25 pm | Link

      Thanks for your contribution Lee, absolutely invaluable. What else do you do with your life?

  • Jeanie June 25, 2014, 6:29 pm | Link

    My almost 5 year old grandson was bitten 4 times by a red back last Saturday. Must have been in his clothes – bitten on the neck. ER saw him – gave a one off antihistamine liquid and pain relief, then sent him home. Later that day his legs began to ache terribly and the pain was more intense, also had a couple of bouts of breathlessness when upset. Went back to the hospital and was admitted for observation – pain relief dose increased to help him cope. Through the night he got the shakes and they were considering the antivenom – by morning he had improved so he was sent home again. Apart from being a bit grumpy he seemed Ok, but mow, Wed. has developed an uncontrollable cough – says his throat is “itchy”. Pulse and temp are normal, a bit worn out by the coughing but doesn’t appear ill. Has any one else had this reaction?
    Interested Grandma.

    • BobinOz June 26, 2014, 6:32 pm | Link

      Your poor grandson, I feel for him and you, it’s horrible to see young children who you love so much suffer.

      It seems that many people have had some quite diverse reactions, but I’ve not heard of an uncontrollable cough or itchy throat before. Quite a few people do read these comments so if anyone else has heard anything, I’m sure they will join the conversation.

      On the positive side, you’ll grandson does appear to be getting better, I hope that continues. For some, if you read the comments above, symptoms have lasted for quite some time. As I say, everyone is different.

      I hope the young lad makes a full recovery soon. Cheers, Bob

  • Mitch May 28, 2014, 3:35 pm | Link

    i got bitten on the foot but it was pretty much the same as yours.
    i was putting on roller blades when it bit me. i didn’t feel it at first but when i took them off and a red back scuttled out it started hurting. im only 11 and i didn’t go to the doctors.

    • BobinOz May 28, 2014, 7:40 pm | Link

      Sounds like you have been as lucky as I was Mitch, although sometimes it takes a while for a reaction to occur. Hopefully you were bitten at least 4 or 5 hours before you made your comment here, if so it looks as though you’re can be just fine.

      Cheers, Bob

  • BobinOz May 21, 2014, 9:02 pm | Link

    Hi everybody

    I just thought I’d let all of you know that I have just added an update to the end of this post. As we know from the comments, some people bitten by redback spiders suffer enormous pain and end up in hospital, others get off much more lightly.

    What makes the difference? Is it us or the spider? Fortunately I have been able to ask this question of one of Australia’s leading experts in this field, please see my latest post…

    The Redback Spider Bite: Are Some People Immune?

    Cheers, Bob

  • jenn May 15, 2014, 9:26 pm | Link

    hey Bob, I just wanted to say yes totally agree. Im the one who was bitten in December last yr ended up with anaphylactic reactions. and recovery was about 4 wks later.when I was bitten, I googled the web to see if what I was experiencing was all due to the little spider. I to had thought they were deadly, but now after experiencing it, I was grateful for your site to, one get info, others experience and to remind myself it was normal what I was feeling. although, not everyone has a reaction like mine or even LIsa’s, its good to have somewhere to go to warn others just how bad and quick the effects can be. and yet some, like yourself escape mildly. weird huh.

    anyhow, great job with the site. I read every post as it comes to my inbox, amazed at how many ppl come into contact with the little beasts.

    oh btw, Lisa its now may but I’m yet to laugh about my encounter, its still fresh. I have however, sprayed our property for spiders and pests, and educated my lil 3 yr old NOT to touch any spider. better safe than sorry.

    cheers jenn

    • BobinOz May 16, 2014, 4:30 pm | Link

      Hi Jenn

      Good to hear from you again. Yes, I think it is good that people have somewhere to come to, both to say what happened to them and also to see what happened to others. Like yourself, I’m surprised how many people are getting bitten and I’m amazed at how many stories have been added by people like yourself.

      As for the effects being bad for some and mild for others, I’ll be adding another post next week to explain that in full. When that post is live I will announce it here.

      Cheers, Bob

  • Lisa May 15, 2014, 9:06 am | Link

    Hi BobinOz

    I had heard, since a little girl, that red backs were venomous spiders, so my natural reaction after being bitten was to go straight to the hospital. And yes, very lucky indeed I live only 5mins drive away.

    I found your blog very informative and of comfort to me knowing that my current symptoms are part and parcel of post bite reactions. I do feel for those, written above, where their post bite symptoms were a lot worse than mine and, by the sounds of a couple, went on for months! I hope they are all fully recovered by now.

    Thanks Bob, I do hope so. A work colleague was bitten by a white back, and still over 3mths later gets arthritis like symptoms in that whole leg. Yes, I’m sure in a month or so, said spider in jar will be passed around to friends with laughter by all.

    BTW, well done on setting up a site for those bitten to share their experiences. It does go to show, people do react in different ways.

    • BobinOz May 15, 2014, 5:05 pm | Link

      Hi Lisa

      Well, your natural reaction turned out to be the right reaction given what happened to you, but I think it’s pretty rare for this spider’s bite to take a hold of somebody so quickly and to such effect. As you say though, there have been some people with even worse symptoms.

      When I first created this page I didn’t for the life of me think that so many people would come here and tell us their stories, but I’m really glad that they have and it’s actually everybody who has taken the time to do that, including yourself Lisa, that makes this page so helpful.

      So we can all pat ourselves on the back 🙂

      Cheers, Bob

  • Lisa May 13, 2014, 1:39 pm | Link

    I was bitten by a red back on 27/4/14 around 10:30pm. The bugger was wrapped around, upside down, the top of my thong (flip flops). Now, I can see I was initially bitten 3 times (larger welt like scars) to the left part of the top of my right foot and twice (tiny red dots) to the right part of the top of my right foot.

    Initially I just thought it was the plastic part of my thong as when I put it on as it felt like the tiniest pin prick / pinch. It was when I was bitten for the 3rd time I knew something was amiss. Took off my thong (2 other small bites to the right of foot must have happened at that point in time) and had a look. The red back was still wrapped, upside down, around the thong.

    I put said spider and thong into a bag, locked up the house and drove straight to the hospital, only 5mins away. Yes, took bag with me so there would be no debate over it being a red back bite at the hospital.

    I won’t go into all the dramatic details of being rushed through emergency in wheelchair, Dr’s and Nurses attaching heart rate monitors etc.

    Within 10mins of being at the hospital (approx. 15mins from bite), top of right foot was extremly red, swollen (3cm’s in diametre) and shinny (sticky sweat, which I didn’t know at the time). My blood pressure wasn’t good, nor was my heart rate.

    The took bloods and administered anti-venom, fluids and anti-nausa via drips.

    I am alergic to antihistamines so they could only give me panadol for the pain and the swelling. My foot by this stage was burning and throbbing with pain. Within 30mins, the pain was so bad, I had the thumping in the ears (I think you all know what I mean) and it had radiated all the way up my right leg to my groin / hip area.

    I also got so cold my teeth were chattering and my whole body was shacking. They went and got me a warm blanket (50 degs appartently when they take them out of where ever they do).

    I was discharged at 2am the following morning after the last lot of bloods came back ok, my heart rate was back to normal, as was BP etc. I was given a 10pk of Rafen to take every 4hrs for the pain (told to take neurofen thereafter) and told if I felt the slightest bit off to go straight back. They also told my BF what to keep an eye out for.

    Trying to make a long story short, I was unable to walk on it for 4days, could not even have anything touch any part of my right foot, was either throbbing in pain, pins and needles like sensation, burning or sooooo itchy.

    On the Friday morning (4 days later), I went back to my local GP. Aafter finding out I had just had a shower only 30mins prior (still a bit of sticky sweat stuff on top of foot) was told I was to stil limit walking, keep foot elevated and to comtinue to do so until sweat on top of foot was completely gone.

    I was able to walk with a bit of a limp on the Saturday and almost back to normal on the Sunday. Although, after walking or standing for too long (approx 1hr), was getting light headed.

    Today, 16 days later, I’m almost back to normal. Last week (after work) was sooo fatigued and whole of right leg during the day (I work in IT so can sit for majority of the day if needed) felt very heavy yet very weak to walk on. Last Wednesday (not sure if due to cold weather) leg was throbbing on and off all day, had to keep massaging it.

    Yes, it still gets itchy at times where the bite marks are, more the larger now welt looking 3 to the left. Last night foot was swollen (seems to be a daily occurance). And, still I am getting pain (more uncomfortable then hurting) in my right groin, hip, knee and calf – main area of discomfort is the right groin.

    Until I read comments here, I didn’t attribute that the headaches I’ve been getting since Friday night last week (everyday since) to the red back.

    I was also advise by my GP, if I went back to work (he gave me a 5 day medical cert) or walked on it too soon (no more sweat on top of foot) I could hinder the healing process and cause longer term side effects.

    Also, the brochure I was given by the Dr in emergency stated it can take up to 5 days, or longer for recovery.

    And yes, I still have said red back in one of those Dr issues little jars with the yellow lid! BF insisted on taking it after asked by Dr if I’d like it as a souvenir…

    • BobinOz May 14, 2014, 8:35 pm | Link

      Well, that’s another redback spider horror story to add to the list, I really did get off lightly. We’ve had a few people get hit really hard by redback bites, but yours took a hold of you pretty fast compared.

      Sounds as though it’s lucky you live as close as you do to the hospital Lisa, otherwise it could have turned out worse. Did you know you were going to react badly? Did you feel some kind of immediate effect to make you go straight to the hospital?

      16 days later and almost back to normal, that’s pretty scary too, one day would’ve been nice. Although for one or two people in this thread, which I’m sure you have read, symptoms seemed to persist for a long time and I truly hope that doesn’t happen to you.

      I hope you make a full recovery very soon and hopefully in no time that (I assume) dead redback spider sitting in a little jar will become a laughable object of a very long and funny story for you.

      Cheers, Bob

  • arjo April 12, 2014, 2:17 am | Link

    great blog,

    what the ‘net should be, many stories, common topic. put together the whole, you have a concice, accurate source of info.

    my house mate got bit. stab pain, violent sick, rash n swollen site; red back. she’s OK tho, bin to hospital, sent to fend for herself. just swelling n pain. its coming n going tho, which is odd.

    ANYWAY,
    the point of my comment was to one of the Brendans hunting for the buggers. gotta say, beautiful idea. I’ve fish n fungi in tanks, n a spiderbox is a great idea.

    Look in pits. underground cable junctions. y’know, plastic boxes with a concrete slab on top, telstra or the power co, etc stamped in the mud. in the footpath or verge. they’ve always got fat mommas in em. in my experience.

    to get in, U’ll need a key, pretty simple. a stout L shape wire. pit will have some oval holes in it, bit shorter than an inch long (id use a hanging plant pot bracket from bunnings) . make the short of ur L enough to fit in, handle long n shaped to be useful. put ur lug in the hole, rotate 90 degrees, lift up. drag slab clear. we’d carry a can of mortien to blast in at this point. but tuck in with ur sample jar. I’d put money on finding a big red back there if u’ll find em anywhere.

    thoroghbred Aussie; as kids ya just learn to respect the fact that things out there can kill ya. if ya lift a sheet of whatever, lift it away from you, so scared snakes can flee. know what web a wolf spider web is, a daddy long legs web is, n a red back web is. what critter is what. long legs prey redbacks, if their around ur OK. wolf n jumpers won’t hurt ya. n they all eat flies. n mozzies….

    good luck in ur hunt 😉

    • BobinOz April 14, 2014, 5:24 pm | Link

      Some great tips arjo and thank you for the complimentary words about my website, it’s always good when I get those from an Aussie.

      Now, if I’m reading this right, every time I turn my water supply off from down in the street (something I’ve done quite a few times due to various plumbing activities here) it sounds as though I am risking acute pain when I plunge my hand into the darkness of that pit and start struggling with the (almost impossible to shift) key like tap thing that shuts off the mains.

      Next time I shall either take the suggested Mortien or, if I fancy getting myself a new pet, a jar.

      Cheers, Bob

  • Caroline March 26, 2014, 1:00 am | Link

    I live in Paraguay, South America and checked to see if it really was a spider bite I got this morning!!
    This morning when I put on my workout clothes (which had been drying outside overnight) I felt a prick on my thigh. Of course I rubbed the spot, only to feel something squish. So I couldn’t really identify what bit me by the time I got said creature out of my pantleg.
    It actually is only a tiny red spot, like a mosquito bite, but the surrounding area is sweaty and sticky. Hurts like a burning stick poking into my leg. Vinager is my cure all, so I took a papertowel soaked in vinager to place on the bite. Eased the pain, but since this is my second time, I know it’ll take a while so completly go away.
    My son was bit in the neck when he was 2 and he had horrible muscle spasms. Emergency room and 24 hour hospital stay with antihistamines and I think steroids. No antivenom.
    Caroline

    • BobinOz March 26, 2014, 12:54 pm | Link

      From the pain you describe and that sweaty, sticky spot, yes, sounds to me as though you were bitten by a redback spider or one of his relatives in your country.

      Vinegar, interesting choice. It’s what we use here for jellyfish stings, works too.

      Hope you don’t suffer too much Caroline, and I assume your son is fully recovered now?

      Cheers, Bob

  • jenn March 19, 2014, 6:53 pm | Link

    hi bob
    jenn here I was bitten before Christmas twice on the neck, had an anaphylactic reaction etc. good on you for adding first aid advice. I have completed first aid courses and advance first aid over many yrs, but let me tell you if you need help you know fairly quickly. my training went out the window for a minute while my girlie scared instincts kicked in. as I was on my own with a toddler I knew to get help and fast in my case. to tournequay??? or not to didn’t come into it. nor did immobilising area as it was the neck. to be honest stupidly I collected my lil ones dvd player and snacks to keep her amused b4 I thought about my immediate danger, these typical actions of a mum were pointed out by the dr, while giggling saying only a mum….wld get kids sorted while dealing with an emergency. I think they were glad of her favourite dvd for distraction in the end. it was after when googling info on redbacks that I found yr site so if some help is given to others in such a situation, then you can be proud of your efforts.

    in the end it took about 4 wks to be feeling properly well after my clash with the mighty redback. everyone will react differently, as I said my case was severe probably because of being on my neck and bitten twice. but im here to tell the story. so all is well that ends well.

    cheers jenny

    • BobinOz March 20, 2014, 12:20 am | Link

      Bitten on the neck twice? Ouch and ouch! What a nice Christmas present. I hope your little girl didn’t take too long deciding which DVDs she wanted to watch. As the doctor said, only a mum 🙂

      What kind of treatment were you given? Did you have antivenom? Or did they manage it by other means; antihistamines, adrenaline, steroids, that sort of thing? Four weeks feeling grog, not good, but glad to hear you have recovered now.

      Thanks for the kind words about this page as well, it’s appreciated. Cheers, Bob

      • BobinOz March 20, 2014, 2:38 pm | Link

        Oops, my bad. Jenn has just emailed me to explain that she commented just before Christmas about her personal redback spider bite experience which was fully documented here.

        Sorry Jenn, I forgot. Doh!

  • BobinOz March 18, 2014, 8:41 pm | Link

    Update to all:

    I have now added some first aid advice to the very beginning of this post and here’s why.

    I’ve recently been searching the Internet for redback spider first aid information, mainly because of Paul’s suggestion about multiple bites. What struck me more than anything was the overload of information about this spider and how difficult it was to find first aid information really quickly.

    Lots of pages like mine (guilty) spoke at great length about the redback spider but you would have to plough through all sorts of information until you got to the bit that might actually help somebody.

    People desperate for quick answers on what to do must have been pulling their hair out times.

    Hopefully those landing on this page won’t need to do that any more.

    Cheers, Bob

  • Aussierager March 17, 2014, 4:50 am | Link

    Hello again. You misunderstand me. My point was multiple bites only. I state yes the pain at bite area WILL become unbearable as this is what all medical advice says. So i am agreeing. I am saying only do the pressure bandage on multiple bite victims and only as a last resort.
    The aim of a pressure bandage is to restrict the venom moving thru the lymph system.
    Redback venom moves slowly so in 99% of cases i agree do NOT use a pressure bandage, its only the very rare cases of multiple bites and/or should only be done when medical help is hours away such as in the middle of the bush. So i am agreeing with you for most cases. Also please note that medical advice says a pressure bandage will add to the pain but NOTHING MORE. It wont make the bite area “breakdown”, it wont make the victim get sicker, it ONLY adds to the discomfort/pain.

    What all medical advice does say is IMMOBOLIZE THE LIMB. Immobolization does not require pressure bandage, does not add to the bite sites discomfort and DOES slow down the venom movement.

    These were my points. This is what i would do. In ALL cases of redback spider bite a person should always seek professional medical advice and use internet data like this blog as a reference only.
    Hopefully i have cleared up my personal advice. A single bite should not have a pressure bandage but should still be immobolized is my final point.
    Paul

    • BobinOz March 17, 2014, 8:33 pm | Link

      Paul, I have not misunderstood you at all, there’s nothing to misunderstand. Please don’t keep arguing your point, your advice goes against popular medical opinion and as such is confusing.

      Please do not come back and argue your point any further. Medical advice on this is very simple and straightforward in redback spider bites…

      DO NOT APPLY PRESSURE BANDAGE.

      • BobinOz March 18, 2014, 8:43 pm | Link

        Paul, we may not see eye to eye on the treatment side, but I do thank you for highlighting to me (see below) the fact that my page didn’t actually help anyone looking for first aid advice.

        Cheers, Bob

  • Aussierager March 15, 2014, 6:25 am | Link

    Hi again. Yup u r right about no pressure bandage 99% of the time. I should have pointed out that u only use a pressure bandage if u are bitten multiple times to slow the venom movement down. Multiple bites only. Yes it will increase the pain but with multiple bites the toxicity of the venom is greatly increased so although redback bite venom moves slower than other venom when considering multiple bites and thinking a high invenomization has occurred its better to go thru the pain to ensure the venom doesnt leave the lymph system. And always immobolize the limb whether u pressure bandage or not, movement of the affected limb will increase the venom movement and does not add to the pain. One such comment above said they sat down and felt numbness in the lower limbs and it wasnt until the next day after they awoke and started moving around that they started feeling more ill. So yes dont pressure bandage single bites as the pain is worse but yes DO immobolize the limb like u ewould mostly all invenomizations to help prevent venom moving thru lymph system. As to how it affects somebody. A single bite from a redback will react differently for all people just like a wasp or bee sting does. It also depends on body weight, age, pre-existing medical conditions and how much venom you receive.
    I can almost guarantee though if you get 2 or more bites and the bites all have a decent dose of venom then no matter who u r it will be bad for you. As my advice said…. Its better to be safe than sorry. Thus my reason i say immobilize limb and if you think u can stand the pain pressure bandage the limb. To pressure bandage only increases the pain but doesnt increase how the venom acts. Better to b safe than sorry is my motto and although i know it would b painful i would still use a pressute bandage just to make sure the venom didnt spread. Thats me. I hope i cleared up my mis-information.

    • BobinOz March 17, 2014, 12:26 am | Link

      Aussierager

      Every single piece of advice from various sources that I have checked regarding the redback spider bite says you should NOT APPLY A BANDAGE, so I’m sorry, but I really cannot suggest anyone reading this to follow your advice.

      I’m not sure where you are getting your information from, but none of the government websites or respected health websites agree with what you are saying. You keep saying it is better to be safe than sorry, I believe it is safest that people follow the official advice from the medical experts who know about how to deal with a redback spider bite.

  • Aussierager March 14, 2014, 12:30 am | Link

    Hi. I have always had a fascination with spiders and being victorian naturally i am intrigued with redbacks. I am no expert but have done much homework on this subject over the years. I found this blog after searching redbacks today because i caught a large one in my backyard. I have had run-ins with them 5 times in my 47 years of life and thusfar have been lucky to never been bitten though it has been close 3 of those 5 times. So i wanted to share what info i have collected over the years.
    1. Male redbacks are purely black though they have the same body shape as females. They can give a painful localized bite but thats usually the worse of it for 99% of people.
    2. Females have the red stripe, depending on the “redness” of its stripe depicts its venom strength, the deeper the red the more venomous.
    Many that have posted above are correct when saying these next things. Yes it depends if she pumps u with venom AT ALL or how much venom she wants to use as to how sick you may get, Yes this depends on how long since she fed or how much u scared/annoyed her, yes it depends on the usual factors of age/frailty and/or pre-existing medical conditions as to how badly you react. Yes they usually roll themselves into a defensive ball so being bitten usually occurs when your limb is in vicinity of her eggs or placed right in her web or on top of her as yes they are not normally aggressive. All your posts giving the various degrees of venomation is exactly that. Read the posts and see those that have suffered 2 bites or more have ALL been hospitalized, why?.. Because they have absorbed more venom. Bob was lucky and got bitten by a baby or one that had recently fed.
    Lastly where is their favourite places to live.
    Hot/steamy areas such as mulch beds, pine needles but mostly where ever METAL is found, such as your toolshed, garage, downpipes/gutters. Just like snakes and mozzies they are cold blooded and require humid/hot temps to be active which is why you rarely hear of snake or spider bites during winter. They have infra-red seeking ability to seek out prey as well as using their other weapons such as web silk tracers and feeling vibrations. Whenever moving things from a metal area or shed its a good HABIT to always assume there will be spiders there because all spiders like the warmth metal can give.
    Finally there is many schools of thought on what to do if you do get bitten.
    The main one is do NOT try to suck the poison out. ER will have difficulty getting a localized sample and the person sucking the poison has the potential to absorb the poison also. The best idea with any bite is a pressure bandage at site and above and immobilization of limb and person to slow the venom movement and then seek medical advice ASAP.
    I believe some people may read some of the above comments and think they need not worry about medical advice. This could be a FATAL mistake because although we have not had a death by redback in 30 years some of the above people sound like they would have died if they had not seeked medical advice in time.
    Remember, its not how many times you get bitten, its how powerful the venom is and if she gives you a full dose or only a little. So my advice is ALWAYS seek medical advice. Its better to be safe than sorry.
    I hope my addition to this blog benefits even just one person.

    • BobinOz March 15, 2014, 12:10 am | Link

      Thanks for your tips, information and thoughts Aussierager. I’m don’t I agree with everything you say, and something I am really trying to get to the bottom of is whether it is the amount of venom pumped in that determines the human reaction or whether it is the person’s biological make up that decides whether they will have a reaction or not.

      Wasps, for example, can cause anaphylactic shock in a minority of people and the rest just say “ouch”. That’s down to the biology of the person bitten, is something similar happening with redbacks?

      One thing I am going to correct you on though is the treatment. Specific medical advice says that you DO NOT apply pressure bandaging and immobilisation as this will worsen the pain. Seriously, what you are suggesting is BAD advice. Attempting to prevent the movement of the venom will just increase the local pain to excruciating levels.

      Apply ice or a cold compress, and seek medical help if more than a mild reaction occurs.

      Snakes, on the other hand, just to be clear, do require pressure bandaging and immobilisation to prevent movement of the venom around your body.

      Cheers, Bob

  • Samantha February 26, 2014, 5:11 pm | Link

    Hey there
    My 9 yr old daughter just got bit or stung by something in the park next door to our house whilst getting our cat. She has said that it stung like she wanted to scream but didn’t want to scare the cat!!!! it has left a tiny red dot, slightly risen but no sweating in local area, being top of foot and no swelling. that was at 5.15pm with temp of 36,8…seems all good. time now is 6 10pm and after website research haven’t been able to distinguish what it may have been. do you know of any garden spiders that leave a sting like mark…any insects…we could not find any in the spot outside where she was tagged!. Any suggestions would be great, and how long should we be keeping an eye on her???????????????

    • BobinOz February 27, 2014, 7:24 pm | Link

      Well, it’s probably been 24 hours or more now since she was bitten or stung, if she hasn’t reacted by now then it’s very unlikely that she will do. Always a worry when you don’t know what it is that has got to her, hopefully it was just a wasp or something and no harm has been done. Obviously keep an eye on the wound, make sure it doesn’t go bad.

      How is she now? Is she okay? Brave girl not wanting to scare the cat 🙂

      • Samantha February 28, 2014, 9:35 am | Link

        Hey Bob,
        Yeah she was a brave girl! She has aspergers so I was amazed at her calmness to the very obvious red dot bite/sting site. Kept an eye on her temp, all good and no local swelling or swetting. She did complain of pain in her foot and groin-that worried me going up to that area. I gave her some Claryntine and that helped with the situation even though antihistamines can hide symtoms. we kept a close eye on her until bed and she had no further reactions. We are surrounded by redbacks in our backyard and park next door, aswell as other creepy crawlies and bees/wasps. Does getting our backyard sprayed by a professional really help get rid of venomous bitters????????? or can they survive the insecticides? And does the regular garden spiders cause a concern aswell?
        Thanks, Samantha.

        • BobinOz March 1, 2014, 10:21 pm | Link

          Glad to hear she is okay Samantha, looks like what ever got her didn’t do too much damage.

          Spraying certainly helps inside the house and in some outside spaces close to the house, like the garage and shed, but I’m not really sure about spraying the whole backyard. I really can’t see that working very well.

          We’ve only got a couple of spiders that can really hurt, that’s the redback and the funnel web, perhaps we have a few more that might hurt a bit, but they won’t cause any permanent damage. Remember, nobody has died in Australia from a spider bite since the 70s.

          I’m not sure your little girl was bitten by a redback spider though, I still think it might have possibly been a wasp. Best defence when in the garden is to be very careful where you put your hands.

          Take care, Bob

  • lewis February 16, 2014, 2:08 am | Link

    did it realy hurt

  • Katrina K February 10, 2014, 1:32 pm | Link

    I just spent the las hour reading all of the comments and am now more fascinated than scared of the red back . I googled “do red back bites hurt” and here I am.
    I was emptying the steel framed pool in the back yard and noticed that at every pole there was Atleast 1 red back. Something stung my toe. But didn’t see what it was and couldn’t actually see where I had been stung/bitten. Let’s hope it’s not . Although it’s kinda a once in a lifetime experience. Also had a run in with what I believe was a funnel web the other day . Who needs skydiving for an adrenaline rush!!

    • BobinOz February 10, 2014, 4:16 pm | Link

      Have you been working in the garden with your thongs on Katrina?

      It’s now probably about three hours or so since you were bitten by that unknown critter, so if you haven’t had a bad reaction by now, you ‘probably’ will be okay. Notice how I was careful to use the word probably, because let’s face it, who knows?

      Please do let us know if anything develops or even if nothing does. And stay away from that funnel web; nasty nasty!

      • Katrina k February 11, 2014, 8:04 am | Link

        Everytime I go out the back yard I think maybe I should be wearing something other than my thongs. My backyard runs onto a creek with some bush so one of these days I’m sure I won’t be so lucky.
        So anyway it looks like It wasn’t a spider bite. Whatever it was caused some warmth in my calf muscle and then nothing.
        Have a new spider to deal with today.. Not sure what it is tho. Do all spiders carry their young on their back? If not any ideas which do? Found this one burrowed in a pile of ashes from where we use to have bonfires. I was diggin away at the pile and didn’t even realise I had him or her on the shovel. Until I saw mini versions of it running off of it. Ahh covered in goosebumps now.
        I have a pic of this one I’ll try to uploadit

        • BobinOz February 11, 2014, 6:08 pm | Link

          Sounds like it could be a wolf spider, they have a bit of a bite to them, so don’t get too close. They are also quite capable of killing a cat or dog with a bite, so if you have pets, be extra careful.

          Have a look at my post about wolf spiders, I’ve got a few pictures on there, are we talking about the same spider?

  • Sue Kerrison January 13, 2014, 3:12 pm | Link

    Hello I was looking for information about spider bites and having read your red back spider piece realise that I have also just been bitten by one. We were at the pool and one of the Dads killed a red back spider with his thong(very Aussie). Then on the way home I felt a stinging sensation on my tummy . As I was driving I could not look for @30 min. At first I thought it was a mossie bite as I do react to them as well but that night I saw the pimple bit and little blisters and the red ring. On research and looking at images on ‘google’ I am convinced it was a red back spider. I administers my own first aid of ice and solve cream and now 3 days later it is still a bit red but no more itch or sting . I too was amazed to read that most red back bites are not deadly . I guess its a fallacy that we all heard in the song A Red Back On The Toilet Seat.!!

    • BobinOz January 13, 2014, 4:40 pm | Link

      Yes, the powers of the red back spider are greatly exaggerated back in the UK, as you found out. I was once told by somebody that you couldn’t kill them with a thong, their fangs would pierce right through them. I was told you needed to smash them with a telephone directory 🙂

      Madness!

      The only thing I would say though Sue, is when I was bitten there were no blisters, just that read sticky patch the size of a large coin. Have you seen images of red back spider bites that include blisters?

      Did anyone else who is watching this thread get blisters when bitten by a red back?

      Either way, sounds like you have got off lightly just as I did, if you read some of the other stories above though, not everyone has been so fortunate.

      Cheers, Bob

      • Rocko January 19, 2014, 9:57 pm | Link

        @Sue Kerrison : If you didn’t find the spider, it probably wasn’t a redback spider bite. Maybe a bull ant?

  • doc ??? January 12, 2014, 6:03 pm | Link

    spiders are cool i like them

  • Willie Ase December 23, 2013, 2:37 pm | Link

    I’ve just been bitten by a large female Redback (guarding around 3 large eggs) whilst servicing my sons buggy,have to admit it is quite painful right now and it’s been about 3 hrs since the bite, I am on oral morphine which seems to ease the pain a bit -the pain level is around a 7 out of 10 but manageable.

    • BobinOz December 27, 2013, 11:59 pm | Link

      Three hours without any kind of serious reaction is usually a good sign I think, hopefully you are okay now. Are you?

  • jenn December 19, 2013, 4:35 pm | Link

    Thanks for the video bob. Yes interesting the antivenom is in question after so long. Dr said as I was ok they wldnt use it as it can make u sick later days after. I was happy to put up with my symptoms after I had breathing under control. I’d like to think the antivenom has saved lives over the years as some who posted here suggest it has. I think the best we can do is be more aware of spiders lingering around and take care.

    • BobinOz December 20, 2013, 1:05 pm | Link

      Yes, very strange about that antivenom after all these years, who would have thought? Maybe it’s always been the other stuff that has saved people, the adrenaline, the steroids and the antihistamines, who knows. Not getting bitten is certainly the best defence 🙂

  • harvie December 19, 2013, 4:02 pm | Link

    nice post Bob, I had to google them today to see if they kill, I was picking up pumpkins today and one was on top, i managed to flick it off without it inflicting any bites on me.

    Glad to know that no one has done for over 50 years from them 🙂

    • BobinOz December 20, 2013, 1:02 pm | Link

      Yes, let’s hope that continues 🙂

  • jenn December 19, 2013, 10:28 am | Link

    hi bob
    well yes im a survivor of the great redback bite club to.
    just yesterday in fact. was cleaning the pool when I felt something on my neck, brushed at it and a pin prick sort of feeling followed by a spider running across my chest and just for good measure bit me again!!! biatch………
    with my 2 yr old asleep I went inside and phoned my bro who works outdoors and wld know about it. as I only saw the black spider up too close for my liking, and not the red I was worried. you know all the stories etc.
    well, I think as it was on my neck and bit twice, I started to have problems breathing say 20 mins in. so, grabbed sleepy toddler out of bed and headed to medical centre.
    this is where it turned pear shaped. by the time I got to the counter I was in trouble, sort of explained the bite was rushed in to treatment, given steroid injection, no good. given antihistamine, no good.also put on nebuliser as im asthmatic. was now a little more worried, dr came at me with adrenalin and said don’t worry I called the ambulance.
    I was concerned re 2 yr old seeing all this but she was fine mummy was spidey bit she said to all who listened.lol
    this was my main problem, also the burning was horrible, plus the deep thunding pressure.i however, had sweating around the bites but due to the other problems was breaking out in hot sweats everywhere.
    I was kept in hospital till late last night, no antivenom given as I stayed conscious and was treated conservatively.
    today I still have burning pain at the sites and lymph glands under arms are real sore. as are most of my muscles, I think due to all the adrenalin I was given.
    breathing today is better, but still a bit tight. and overall, feeling bloody lousy.
    the thing I feel best about is the support and help im getting from everyone. help with toddler, food offers. im resting up in bed, not that I feel I can do much else really. and saw yr tale and thought id offer my close call.
    we are all lucky with red back bites, they can be very nasty. but in my case twice bitten twice shy.
    I don’t want to see another aussie icon spider again in my life thank you.
    cheers jenn

    • BobinOz December 19, 2013, 2:20 pm | Link

      Hi Jenn

      Well, that critter got you good and proper, didn’t it? I think, unfortunately, you must be one of the smaller percentage of people who have a bad reaction to this bite. That’s only one theory though, others in this thread have suggested that we can all have reactions as serious as yours if we got bitten, or envenomated, badly enough.

      In your case, your reaction to the bite was quite swift with breathing difficulties after just 20 minutes. Interesting that despite what you went through, you were still not given antivenom; made me wonder why, so I did a little research.

      As a result of that, I’ve added an important update to the above post that I think you, and everyone else, would be interested to read.

      Hope you make a full recovery and avoid getting ‘spidey bit’ in future 🙂 and thank you for sharing your story.

      Cheers, Bob

  • Christine Finlay November 26, 2013, 12:31 am | Link

    My Daughter was biten by a red back spider in Perth last Friday 22/11/2014 on the back of the lower leg, it swole up and became very red and bluish at site of bite. She did get medication from the doctor but had to have crutches to walk as her lower leg was badly swollen.The pain was excruciating according to her but I also think she may have had a bad reaction as she usually needs antihistamine tablets for the sun and she had been recovering only days previous of a salivary gland infection /virus.

    • BobinOz November 26, 2013, 9:59 pm | Link

      That sounds painful. If you read some of the other stories above from people who have been bitten, the pain suffered varies enormously from person to person. Sounds like your daughter was somewhere in the middle.

      I do hope she has fully recovered now. How old is she by the way? Is she a young child or an adult daughter?

      Cheers, Bob

  • LongTimeMother November 23, 2013, 8:28 am | Link

    Hi Bob. I copped 3 bites from a redback in my shoe and wrote about it here. http://hub.me/af6VT

    My one remaining question is whether or not other people suffered the same intense ‘itch’ in the days after the ‘burn’ as I did.

    I still don’t know whether or not it was simply because I was bitten three times, or whether others had the same desire to chop their limb off during the healing process. Did you notice an itch?

    • BobinOz November 25, 2013, 12:58 pm | Link

      Interesting question, I can tell you for sure that I did not get any itching at all, once the pain had gone that was it. Quite a few people have commented above and have described what it was like when they were bitten, two or three of them have mentioned itching. Have a quick skim of the comments and you will see them, no doubt.

      Plenty of people don’t mention itching though, so it would seem that sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t.

      Cheers, Bob

  • Rob November 18, 2013, 9:17 am | Link

    I got bitten Saturday afternoon 16/11/13. I was bitten on the instep of my foot due to having unlaced volley sandshoes on, with no socks. U was head down under a bush in my garden & I described the bite as feeling like a red hot needle being driven into my foot.

    I didn’t locate the biter but a medical officer neighbour examined the bite area & my symptoms & felt sure it was a redback spider. I had pain & redness about the bite area & it felt like bad sunburn. Also I kept getting sharp stabbing pangs of pain. I awoke during the night & all my toes were numb. This had abated somewhat by morning & eased further when I walked about for a while.

    The bite mark showed up more plainly the following day. I took panadol & applied ice packs. I was a bit scared at first, thinking it may have been a white tailed spider bite but my neighbour assured me it wasn’t.

    • Pip November 18, 2013, 1:51 pm | Link

      Why would you be worried about a white tail bite? White tail “necrosis” is a myth perpetuated by people out of ignorance. Usually a friend of a friend. Even Doctors still diagnose a white tail bite without the victim knowing what bit them, just based on any signs of necrosis. People then go away and tell everyone it was a white tail, because the Doc said so. And so the myth continues.

      The only useful study done only took into account captured spiders after a bite. Out of those verified as white tails (around 130), not one single bite led to necrosis.

      • BobinOz November 18, 2013, 7:04 pm | Link

        Interesting Rob, but slightly different from my experience. I don’t think I felt the bite itself, but I felt the pain kick in afterwards. I also could see no evidence of a bite mark, just a round circle of red burning sticky skin about the size of a large coin.

        But maybe the reaction is different for each of us or perhaps each red back bite is different; there is also the possibility that for one of us it wasn’t a red back bite.

        I agree with Pip though (hi Pip), I’ve seen no real evidence to prove we should be concerned overly about white tail spider bites, the stories of necrosis seem to be just that, stories.

        Glad to hear though, that whatever it was that bit you hasn’t left a lasting effect.

        Cheers, Bob

  • Hayley November 15, 2013, 10:12 pm | Link

    I am also a shining beacon of fantastic luck and have been bitten twice!

    When I was 7 (ish) my parents owned an outback pub half way between no where and totally lost, It was the early 90s when it was perfectly acceptable for all the local children to run around a bar barefoot and fancy free while the adults got themselves totally smashed, anyway, as I remember it, My beloved bouncy ball I had scored for probably 2 cents out of a gumball machine rolled under a step so I reached in to grab it, straight into a redback red nest – I pulled my hand out covered with sticky web and a few of them still attached. I screamed. a lot.

    For the first few minutes, even though I was hysterical, I didn’t feel anything but I knew they had bitten me – Then it was just burning, searing, horrible unforgettable pain.

    There was no hospital option, because there was no hospital, There was no panadine forte or codine or morphine or any of that good stuff, Instead an aboriginal elderly man grabbed hold of my hand and sucked the poison out, spitting and sucking for what seemed like hours – while I screamed some more.

    I remember vomiting and convulsing and being surrounded by (heavily intoxicated) panicked people chiming in about what sort of crazy bush medical remedies I needed, I was made to drink some strange concoction which I now believe was Ouzo and milk and who knows what else, the aboriginal people brought me some odd green lotion that smelled like eucalyptus to rub on the bite, it burned my skin and there was talk about how I should ingest a dead redback spider, because that’s not weird! Luckily my parents had sobered up a bit and must have decided that you know.. I was traumatized enough for one day.

    I was sick for a while, maybe a week, with fever and what I would describe as a cramp in my hand and arm and general feelings of “ick” and “blergh”.
    Yes. I am scarred for life, thanks for asking but I’m still alive so, can’t complain. Thanks old man!

    The second time, more recently, I was bitten on the foot while sweeping the garage. I live in the city now and am 27, my neighbours are nice but not nice enough I don’t believe to offer to suck poison out of my foot so off to the E.R it was. Again with the searing pain and agony and convulsing.

    Remember nothing! Blacked out, nearly died, ended up in hospital for 8 days. Booo! not amazing. not. at. all.

    P.S.
    My parents don’t drink anymore
    and
    This gets me out of having to sweep the garage, ever again. (woot!)

    Watch out for the Funnel Webs!
    x Hayley

    • BobinOz November 18, 2013, 2:37 pm | Link

      Ha ha, Hayley, your post made me laugh like a drain. (Not the bit where you nearly died, the rest :-))

      Those were the days, eh, when sucking the poison out was an option. As for actually eating a spider to cure yourself, that’s great that one! In hindsight of course, those elderly aboriginals with their unusual cures appear to have treated you more efficiently than the hospital who took 8 days to get you back on your feet. Shame they didn’t have any of that green gunk, or Ouzo and milk 🙂

      Seriously though, I suspect there are very good medical and scientific reasons as to why your second bite caused you more grief than the first and I’m sure the hospital knew what they were doing. We will watch out for the funnel webs, I think you need to watch out for those redbacks.

      Thanks for sharing your story, brilliant 🙂

      Bob

  • iphox October 23, 2013, 10:18 pm | Link

    My hubby received his second ever redback bite today. He has localised sweating and a bit of pain and nausea… but I can tell you its much less severe than the man flu! Good on ya for still getting blog comments on this post after three and a half years 😉

    • BobinOz October 24, 2013, 1:06 am | Link

      Man flu is a serious problem, I hope you are not making light of a very significant medical condition that can render a man armchair bound for many days, hardly able to fetch a stubbie from the cooler.

      Anyway, glad to hear your hubby is pulling through; two red back bites, they like him 🙂

  • Karen September 25, 2013, 1:42 am | Link

    Thanks for this great blog! I stumbled across you after finding a small colony of Red Backs under our garbage bins… With a little one who loves exploring the yard, I sprayed them with enough bug spray to ensure that they were well dead! – Better to be safe than sorry! Here’s hoping I never find out what reaction I might have if bitten 🙂

    • BobinOz September 25, 2013, 9:26 pm | Link

      Yes, you are right, you can’t be too careful with children around. Definitely better safe than sorry, no child should have to go through the kind of pain that some people have talked about in these comments.

      Cheers, Bob

  • Nicole September 11, 2013, 8:07 pm | Link

    Lucky you! I’ve been bitten twice, one on each leg, in the last 2 years, and both were excruciating :(. Both times I was too late to seek medical attention, missing the “window of opportunity” for antivenom, so was stuck sweating it out. The first bite took 10 days of severe muscle cramping from my ankle to my hip, couldn’t walk, nausea, barely able to eat, fever and headaches. The second bite was just a few weeks ago, and lasted only 7 days, and the symptoms were less severe. Unfortunately, I live in the middle of nowhere (literally. My town has about 100 people, a pub and a servo haha) so no chance of hospital either time. The second time the bite got infected, too, due to being on my foot (and yes, the pain traveled right up to the hip yet again). So I ended up on antibiotics as well as the painkillers!

    To add to the situation… I can’t take painkillers! Unfortunately, my immune system can’t tolerate them, they knock me completely flat for hours on end.

    Luckily, these guys don’t hurt most people too bad. Unfortunately, there’s a select few of us who suffer the worst pain imaginable. And to help you compare, I’ve given birth! 😀

    • BobinOz September 14, 2013, 2:17 pm | Link

      “…and lasted only 7 days” – Only seven days??!! I like the use of understatement. Sounds like you have suffered really badly, twice.

      I think you are also saying that for you, being bitten by a redback is more painful than giving birth. As sorry as I am for the pain you have suffered Nicole, and I certainly hope you don’t have to go through that again, I’m real glad I didn’t go through it.

      Given some of the comments above, I may not be one of the lucky ones as I originally thought, it may just have been that I did not get injected with too much venom, so I’m not getting too complacent, that’s for sure.

      Cheers, Bob

      • Nicole September 15, 2013, 8:55 am | Link

        Yes, “only” 7 days was lucky haha. Basically, for my case, imagine the worst cramp you’ve ever had, multiply it by about 3, then stretch it the length of your leg and make it last for 7 – 10 days. By about the 5th of 6th day, the cramp feeling lessened off to more of a pulled-muscle feeling, and only ached when I moved or at night when I was trying to sleep. I’ve read some of the other comments, some people have had a pretty bad run of it with these little guys. The only reason I say my bites were worse than childbirth is that (for me) giving birth lasted only 2 hours. This lasted up to the 10 days. I’m glad yours wasn’t too bad, you are lucky :).

        • BobinOz September 16, 2013, 3:03 pm | Link

          It sounds horrible Nicole, and yes, I am very glad that I have been lucky. I really wouldn’t want to be going through that kind of pain for so long. Stay away from the spiders! 🙂

  • Rocko July 22, 2013, 3:50 am | Link

    When I was 23 I was bitten by an infant female redback just slightly smaller than the size of a five cent piece in autumn. Happened when I was lounging on the couch watching a movie in the dark (wearing t-shirt & shorts); felt something on my leg, thought it was a mosquito (which I’m allergic too and the ones here in Western Australia have Ross River Virus too in my area) and slapped it hard by relfex. Felt a sting and more movement, so I asked one of the other family members with me to turn on the light and got my surprise: bastard bit me on the leg when I killed it.

    Well being a fourth generation Aussie and a large part of the extended family having a medical background to boot, we all knew what to do for me: hospital. I’ve got this blood condition where my blood clots but doesn’t easily unclot (“Factor V Leiden, 100 fold” if you’re curious) and, throwing in a high pain tolerance too, in the past when poisonous/venomous things have stung/bitten me, majority of the time I get by with a slight reaction and nothing else. Unfortunately I also have a long list of other health problems (asthmatic, epy-pen for a cat allergy plus allegies to other flora/fauna here including grass, allegies to some key medicines, etc) and with redback spider venom being of the type to muscle cramps, it was a lightning run to the emergency ward for me.

    Bitten leg was useless within 30 minutes of the bite (locked straight), torso and back were locked straight shortly after and I had trouble with my left arm too. On the pain scale for me it was a four (probably a seven or higher for anyone else: I’ve had multiple compound fractures from past sporting injuries that felt worse), but being an asthmatic too the damn venom triggered a series of asthma attacks. Doctors were unsure how the anti-venom would work on me (after checking my record and seeing how poorly tranquilizers, pain killers, all but one asthma treatment have worked on me in the past due to my amusing blood chemistry), but risked it anyway after consulting my cardiologist (pro-tip: medical bracelets are worth the money) and I was fine within the hour after they administered a double dose of it with all symptoms stopped except the pain response that petered out over the next 24 hours.

    Verdict was I probably would have survived it if I’d done nothing as long as a clot didn’t form and give me a secondary issue (stroke, heart attack, etc) as I’d previous had the snake venom test to diagnose the Factor V Leiden condition in the first place with no side-effects, but take it from me that you don’t want to risk anything when it comes to Australian animal treatment. I’ve travelled 80% of this continent and had enough close calls that to nearly get done over by a redback in my own home was the definition of “everything is trying to kill you in Australia” for me.

    And it’s been a great bar story ever since.

    • BobinOz July 22, 2013, 6:37 pm | Link

      Hi Rocko

      Interesting story and it again shows just how dangerous these tiny critters can be to some people, sounds like you are most certainly a high risk person when it comes to getting bitten, stung or envenomated.

      I’m glad your treatment was successful and yes, there are some lessons to be learned here, in particular about that medical bracelet. There is also a new thing here in Queensland, not sure if its national, where you can opt to have your medical records (securely) available online so they can be quickly accessed in an emergency.

      If there is any consolation, at least the redback came off second best 🙂 – but as you say, after travelling all around the country, to have come a cropper on your own settee in your own house would have just been quite ridiculous.

      Cheers, Bob

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