Posted July 29, 2020 by Sarah Malone
Waking with a bite isn’t unusual in Australia’s environment but do you know how to identify if they need your immediate attention? Both types should be closely monitored to ensure that they heal and that no further infections arise.
Spider bites are really quite rare, most bites are usually caused by something else. A lot of spiders don’t have fangs big enough to pierce human skin and a lot don’t carry venom strong enough to harm us and usually cause minor symptoms.
Australia has around 2900 species of spiders and most of these are harmless. Although we do house some of the most venomous spiders in the world, our records show no deaths from spider bites since 1981. With the right precautions you can keep your family safe.
How do I identify a spider bite?
Learning what to look for with spider bites is the best way to detect them properly.
Symptoms usually can start anywhere from one to three hours and will get worse as time goes on.
Symptoms can include:
- Pain and/or swelling around the bite
- Pain that spreads through your body particularly around your belly,
- Back or chest regions
- Severe stomach cramps including vomiting and nausea
- Sweating, fevers or chills
- Physical weakness and/or trouble breathing
- An ulcer at the site of the bite with a purple centre
These symptoms are severe and are often only experienced if you are bitten by a venomous spider. In some rare cases you can experience allergic reaction which can have more intense reactions.
How Do I Treat a Spider Bite?
Spider bite treatments can vary from species to species so it is good to try and identify the type of spider bite it is. For example, when treating a funnel-web spider bite you should apply pressure to help reduce the circulation of the venom in the body. However, if bitten by a Redback spider they only require a cold compress such as an ice pack.
If you think it may be a spider bite here are some steps to take:
- Clean the wound gently using soap and water, nothing else
- Elevate the area if you can, as this will help to reduce swelling
- Put an ice pack on the bite
- Keep an eye out for severe symptoms
- Contact a doctor for further advice if the symptoms get worse
If it is safe to do so, catch the spider or take a photo to help identify it. This can help speed up the treatment process but only do this if it is completely safe.
Mosquitos penetrate the skin and inject its saliva into your skin so that it can fill itself with your blood. The mosquito saliva has proteins which trigger a mild immune reaction that leaves you with a red, itchy bump. They are usually attracted to their meal through chemicals in our sweat and scent and will continue to bite until they are full.
When left alone most mosquito bites will heal within a few days and won’t be of concern, however, some people can have allergic or more severe reactions to mosquitoes. They are also known to carry a parasite or virus which can cause illnesses such as yellow fever and malaria. If you suspect a reaction or infection further assistance may be required and you should contact your doctor.
How do I identify a Mosquito bite?
A mosquito bite usually begins as a white and reddish bump usually very quickly after being bitten. A day or so after the bite it may become hard, itchy or have multiple bumps. Some people do notice small blisters instead of hard bumps.
Severe Symptoms can include:
- Large Areas of Swelling and/or Swollen Lymph Nodes
Severe symptoms are more likely to develop for children and if you notice any of the above symptoms or experience any infection, vomiting and shortness of breath you should contact your doctor.
How Do I Treat a Mosquito Bite?
When bitten by a mosquito it is best to try avoid scratching it. By scratching you risk the chance of further infection and can aggravate the area more.
To help treat a mosquito bite:
- Clean the bite gently using soap and water.
- Apply an ice pack
- Apply an anti-itch or calamine lotion
- Take an Antihistamine.
By soothing the bitten area, you are able to keep the itching in check which is very important for children. If needed dress the bite to help deter further scratching.
How Do I keep my house free from spiders?
See our blog about protecting your home against spiders.
How Do I keep my house free from Mosquitoes?
Mosquitoes need water to breed, so it’s best to remove any possible source for them to make home.
- Keep all drains and gutters clear
- Empty dog water bowls, bird baths and children’s paddling pools at least once a week, but more often if you can
- Don’t sore possible water traps in your garden, such as tires, flower pots and areas where water pools for long periods of time
- Drain your fire pit if water tends to collect there
In most cases both spider and mosquito bites are nothing to worry about. However, remain watchful when your children have a bite to determine if they need treatment or not. All severe symptoms should be treated as soon as possible, however, redness and itching is normal.