Redback season

As the days continue to warm, we’re spending more time enjoying the outdoors. So are the spiders.

For Mike Bray, a quick barefoot trip in his Toowoomba front yard casued more pain than usual.

“I was standing on the footpath taking a photo of the sunset. We have bindii in the yard, so I thought I’d stand over the manhole cover on the phone pit.”

“I didn’t notice anything at the time, but when I got back inside a few minutes later I realised I’d been bitten by something. I assumed it was a green ant, because it felt like that. But then it got worse and worse.”

“This is going to sound dramatic, but it felt like a nail had been driven into my foot. Then, after an hour, it gave way to a burning sensation.”

Several hours later, the pain went as quickly as it came. The next day he says he felt “the way you would after food poisoning…48 hours later I had a long sleep, and now I feel fantastic.”

“I haven’t seen a patient for a few years coming through with a red back bite,” says Toowoomba GP, Dr David Van Gend. “Most people consult ‘dr google’, and see that it doesn’t need a lot of attention.”

Van Gend stresses children should be seen by a doctor after a bite. “A Redback can make little children quite unwell. If you feel really unwell it might be worth a trip to the hospital to get the anti-venom. It eases the symptoms.”

Van Gend says while the redback bite is serious, he’s seen more complications and issues with White Tailed Spider bites.

“I’ve seen a patient who had been bitten twice. The first time was in a gardening glove. He lost a little piece of his finger, the ulcer was that big. He also got some bites up his leg a year or so later, with two big infected ulcers. So White Tailed Spiders are not to be taken lightly.”

And if you thought two spiders was bad enough, it’s also the time of year the Toowoomba Funnelweb is active.

But Dr Van Gend says spider bites should be put into perspective, “the one creature that kills more humans is the humble bee.”

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