Thank you to Sarah for submitting the following question:

I recently attended a course with you and I cant remember the treatment for red back spider bites. Is it pressure immobilisation or cold therapy? Thanks ?

Reply by Andy Panes – Director of Education

Hi Sarah,

The treatment of bites and stings can be one of the hardest skills to remember from a first aid course as there are so many different venomous animals and different treatments.

The first aid management of red back spider bite includes the following.

  1. Apply a cold compress for localised pain relief (packet of frozen pea’s or wrapped ice)
  2. Watch for signs of a major allergic reaction (anaphylaxis)
  3. Seek medical attention
  4. Tetanus immunisation status should be updated if necessary in any circumstances where skin has been punctured under unclean conditions

Pressure immobilisation technique is NOT recommended for the treatment of red back spider bites since this may increase the severity of localised pain.

Antivenom may be required for bites with more than mild to moderate local pain or with systemic symptoms or signs of envenomation, such as headache, dizziness, nausea and vomiting.

I hope this helps and stay away from those spiders!

About Andy
Andy is responsible for the overall management of Paradise First Aid. Andy holds a number of Diploma and Certificate level qualifications in first aid and emergency care and has worked in both the private and public health services before making the switch to first aid education. Andy has a passion for Continued Professional Development and is a member of the First Aid Industry Reference Committee and the Australian Resuscitation Council (QLD Branch).

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