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Spider bites - info for children

spider; poisonous; anti-venom; arachnid; bite; poison; web; first aid; spider bite; ;


spiderThink of spiders and your imagination can really scare you. Great hairy things with long legs rushing at people like they do in the movies.

Most spiders are much smaller and don't look really scary. Some of them do bite though. Sometimes they can make someone feel quite ill although this rarely happens.

Since the use of anti-venom (something which stops the poison from working to make you sick) only one person in Australia has died of a spider bite in nearly 40 years (a red back spider bite).

How to avoid spider bites

  • Do not play around garbage bins or garden rubbish.
  • Get the adults in the home to check cubby houses or sheds regularly with you before you play in them.
  • Wear shoes when you're playing outside.
  • spiderWatch out for spiders' webs inside and outside the house. Tell mum or dad so that they can get rid of them and spray so that the spiders are killed.
  • If you live in an area where there are funnel web spiders [Eastern Australia], red back spiders, mouse spiders or any poisonous spiders, learn about them and where they like to live, then avoid them.

What to do for spider bites

  • For most spider bites use an ice pack to lessen the pain and swelling. (Funnel web spider bites need to be treated differently - more like snake bites.)
  • feeling sickParacetamol may help if you are in pain.
  • Antihistamines (anti-hiss-ta-meens) could be useful if you are very itchy.
  • Ask a parent or caregiver to take you to a doctor if the pain is bad or you feel sick.
  • Always go to the doctor quickly if you think that you have been bitten by a poisonous spider (such as a funnel web or redback).
  • Tell the doctor what kind of spider bit you or remember what it looked like if you don't know its name.
  • If you have a brave mum or dad they might be able to catch the spider in a glass jar and take it with you for the doctor to see. [That's only if you don't know what kind of spider it is and the person bitten is feeling pretty sick or has lots of pain.] It is very important that no-one else is bitten so often people do not try to catch the spider.
  • Use surface spray to kill the spider and others that might be nearby.

Dr Kate says

Dr Kate

"Everywhere in the world has something 'bitey' living there. Learn about your local 'dangerous beasties' and how to deal with them. That's a good way to keep yourself safe."


Did you know something else?

  • Spiders belong to the Arachnid family and are not insects.
  • Scorpions are also arachnids.
  • Most spiders kill insects and can be useful in getting rid of flies around the house - eg huntsman spiders and 'daddy-long-legs'..
  • There are around 2,000 species of spiders in Australia - but only a few are dangerous to humans.

If you'd like to know more about spiders then look at this site

Look at the Spiders in history section to find out why King David, Yorimoto (a Japanese warrior), Robert the Bruce (a Scottish warrior) and the prophet Mohammad all had good reasons to be grateful to spiders. 

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We've provided this information to help you to understand important things about staying healthy and happy. However, if you feel sick or unhappy, it is important to tell your mum or dad, a teacher or another grown-up.


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