The most realistic answer to this question might be scream, cry, freeze or maybe even kiss your a** goodbye. But wait, don’t panic! Things actually may not be that serious.
The chances of getting bitten by a Redback are probably something like 1 in 10 million (ok, so I totally made that figure up – but I doubt I’m that far out). It’s not as if there’s a whole host mutant spiders in Australia aggressively searching for travellers to sink their teeth into (we promise), but it is a possibility that you might come into contact with a few less than desirable creepy crawlies while you’re roaming about down under.
So, I’ve grilled an expert on all things travel heath, to give us all the low down on what to do if you do get bitten by a Redback spider. Say hi to Jason, a pharmacist from Nomad Travel.
Image by vagawi
Where in the world might you find red back spiders?
Red back spiders are otherwise known as black widow spiders and various species are found across the globe, although Redbacks are particular to Australia. They would be found in small bushes, rocky areas and anywhere that its main food sources (insects) will be found in large numbers.
Where could you come across them in our daily (Aus based) lives?
They tend to build their webs close to the ground, usually in quite well protected areas such as under floorboards, between boxes, in piles of rubbish.
Check your shoes before you but them on to make sure you don’t get a nasty surprise! Image by mhillier
Can they jump?!
They can’t jump, but freshly hatched spiders will climb to a high point and parachute on silk to a new home.
Nice. How quickly should you seek help if you get bitten?
If a bite from one is suspected medical attention should be sought as soon as possible as symptoms can begin to appear within the hour
Can a bite kill a person? How quickly?!
It is very rarely fatal with mainly quite mild symptoms, though individuals with pre-existing medical conditions, the elderly and the young are at greatest risk
What treatment would you receive after being bitten?
Treatment will depend on the severity of the bite and the response of the individual, but treatment will usually revolve around pain relief and management. Antivenom is not usually required and will only be used under hospital conditions when appropriate. Other treatments may be required for muscle cramps, high blood pressure and in the most very severe cases respiratory or cardiac support may be required
What can you do to avoid being bitten?
Take care when moving boxes or stones etc, check your shoes for spiders, check the toilet, as webs are often made under the toilet seat. If you are clearing a garage or something similar, wear heavy gloves and cover up. They will only bite when threatened or when on clothes and pressed or squashed so watch what you’re doing!