This post is brought to you courtesy of Seqirus.
My child has a spider bite! What to do?
I realised when my son was bitten by a spider recently that I had completely forgotten what kind of First Aid I was supposed to administer.
I have done a First Aid course but being a mum, I barely remember when my children’s homework is due, let alone what I should do for a spider bite! Should I wash it? Apply ice? Do I put a bandage on it? It was quite the drama and actually reinforced how important it is to be prepared for bites and stings given the warmer Australian climate.
I spent most of the time asking my son if he had trouble breathing, or on a scale of 1 to hospital how badly did the bite area hurt. Of course, I panicked, and no amount of memory recall settled my hysteria.All I could remember from my First Aid course was how to put a bandage on a broken finger and that certainly wasn’t going to save my son. Even though there have been no deaths in Australia from a confirmed spider bite since 1979, you can still experience severe and painful symptoms after being bitten by a venomous spider.[i]
Given my baby brain had completely let me down I thought I’d follow up by trolling the internet to both ease my mind and find out if there was something available for parents like me. That’s when I found a Free First Aid App for Bites and Stings. Stumbling upon the app was great and really relieved me of having to rely heavily on First Aid procedures learnt in a classroom 2 years ago.
Upon reading through the information available on the app, I realized that there are so many serious risks in and around the home and the First Aid required for different stings and bites was so varied.
Did you know that hornets, bees and wasp stings cause more hospital admissions than snake bites?
And that isn’t just out in the country. Towns and cities are a hotspot for deadly encounters with Australia’s venomous creatures. The latest study shows that over half of reported deaths from venomous creatures happened at home, and almost two-thirds (64%) of these occurred in major cities or inner-regional areas.[i]
This to me was concerning considering the fear I have of snakes and giving next to no thought about the repercussions of a potentially severe allergic reaction to a sting from the humble honey bee. Combine that with realizing my First Aid skills weren’t as fine-tuned as I’d have liked them to be and it made me feel extremely unprepared.
The First Aid instructions provided on the Bites and Stings App were super clear and really concise. It was easy to read and gave me the confidence I needed going forward to ensure the correct First Aid treatment would be administered if needed.
After downloading the app I did a run through of my recent situation and found that First Aid practices depending on the spider, vary. Given Australia is home to some of the world’s most venomous spiders it’s important to know what First Aid steps to take as you might actually make the situation worse by doing the wrong thing. Lucky for my son the bite only caused some minor irritation and slight itching which cleared up quite quickly.
The ‘Funnel-Web Spider’ is one of the most venomous in the world not just Australia. If you are bitten by one of these beauties symptoms may include abdominal pain, difficulty breathing, muscle twitching and confusion.[i] This kind of bite can be life threatening and requires immediate emergency assistance, so making sure you applying appropriate first aid may increase the person’s chances of survival.[ii]
Preparation really is key.
This summer is expected to be hotter and drier than average and with higher temperatures making some venomous creatures more active, Australians are facing an increased risk of bites and stings this summer.[i],[ii],[iii] Many of us prepare accordingly and we should be doing the same regarding the many venomous creatures that are on the move during this time of year.
Snakes are prominent and more active during the summer months and being able to have access to First Aid instructions with a first aid app to treat a snake bite could be life-saving. A fully stocked First Aid Kit in combination with a first aid app, such as the “Australian Bites and Stings” can help you and your family be prepared.
If you’re like me and barely remember what day of the week it is, you will find this app invaluable. It’s quite intuitive to use; you just click on the relevant icons and browse the information. If you want to know more and be prepared for this summer, download the app and see for yourself. It’s better to be prepared.
For more information on the app: http://www.seqirus.com.au/bites-app
If you or someone you know has been bitten or stung by a venomous creature and needs urgent medical advice or assistance, call 000. For more information on the treatment of venomous bites and stings, please speak to your doctor.
About The Australian Bites and Stings App
The app is available to download for free from the Apple App store and Google play or from the webpage: www.seqirus.com.au/bites-app. Information contained in the app has been designed to provide assistance for the general public on Australian venomous creatures. The guide is specific to Australian fauna, and is based on local resuscitation and envenoming first aid management guidelines published by the Australian Resuscitation Council (ARC). The maps are based on occurrence records maps published by the Atlas of Living Australia (ALA) and distribution maps published in bioCSL’s handbook.8 The information provided in the app is to be used as a reference only and is not intended as a substitute for professional first aid training and techniques.
Australian Museum, Spider Facts. Available at: https://australianmuseum.net.au/spider-facts . Accessed in November 2018.
Ronelle E Welton, David J Williams, Danny Liew. Injury trends from envenoming in Australia, 2000-2013. Internal Medicine Journal, 2016; DOI: 10.1111/imj.13297. Available at: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/imj.13297 . Accessed in November 2018.
Australian resuscitation council. Funnel web spider bite. Available at: https://www.spiders.com.au/Funnel%20Web%20and%20Mouse%20Spider%20Bites%20-%20Australian%20Resuscitation%20Council.pdf Accessed in November 2018.
Better Health Channel, Spiders. Available at: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/spiders . Accessed in November 2018.
The Australian Bureau of Meteorology, Climate outlooks – monthly and seasonal Issued: 25 October 2018. Available at: http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/outlooks/#/overview/summary . Accessed in November 2018.
Christopher I Johnston, Nicole M Ryan, Colin B Page, Nicholas A Buckley, Simon GA Brown,
Margaret A O’Leary, Geoffrey K Isbister, The Australian Snakebite Project, 2005e2015 (ASP-20), Available at: https://www.mja.com.au/system/files/issues/207_03/10.5694mja17.00094.pdf . Accessed in November 2018.
Australia Wide First Aid, Australian spider identification and spider bite treatment, 2014, Available at: https://www.australiawidefirstaid.com.au/australian-spider-bite-identification-treatment/ . Accessed in November 2018.
White J. A Clinician’s guide to Australian venomous bites and stings: incorporating the updated CSL antivenom handbook. bioCSL Pty Ltd. 2013.