NSW Ambulance is calling on people to remain vigilant about the potential for spider bites after paramedics attended almost 100 cases in January.
The total – 98 cases in all – represented an increase on last year’s January total of 81.
NSW Ambulance Superintendent Alan Morrison said that, for the 13 months January 2014 to January 2014, 589 incidents were attended by paramedics. This included 73 funnel web spider bites – 63 incidents in 2014 and 10 in January this year.
Superintendent Alan Morrison said funnel webs, which are Australia’s deadliest spider, are active year-round, although they reached peaks in January this year (10 incidents), followed by March and November (nine each), December (eight) and April (seven).
He said the peaks for overall spider incidents occurred in January 2015 and December (98 incidents each), followed by January 2014 (81), November (70), and December and March (59).
In terms of location, attendance for funnel web incidents was highest in the north of NSW (23), followed closely by Sydney’s north (22), and Sydney’s west (12).
Supt Morrison said incidents overall were highest in Sydney’s west with 107 cases being recorded in 13 months, followed by Sydney’s north and south-west/Illawarra sectors – both with 103 incidents.
Funnel web incidents included:
• January 1, 2014 – A 20-year-old Casino woman was transported to Casino Memorial Hospital after being bitten on the neck.
• March 13 – a 19-year-old man was transported to Bowral Hospital after being bitten on the forearm at Bundanoon.
• April 26 – a 20-year-old man was transported to Royal North Shore Hospital after being bitten on the finger at Longueville.
• April 25 – a 52-year-old Balgowlah man was bitten on the finger while cleaning out a gutter. He was transported to Manly Hospital for treatment.
• August 4 – a 40-year-old woman was transported to Sutherland Hospital after being bitten on the finger at Bundeena.
• January 28, 2015 – a 33-year-old man at Whitebridge was bitten on the neck and transported to Calvary Mater Hospital in a serious condition.
For treatment of funnel web spider bites, Supt Morrison advises:
• call Triple Zero (000) and ask for Ambulance;
• if the bite is on a limb, apply a pressure immobilisation bandage. The bandage should not cut off the circulation;
• if the bite is not on a limb, apply direct, firm pressure to the bite site with your hands. Keep the patient still and discourage them from walking around; and
• remember, never cut or excise the wound and do not attempt to suck the venom out. And do not apply a tourniquet.
For all other spiders (eg redbacks, white-tails, trapdoors):
• apply an ice pack or cold compress to relieve the pain; and
• if severe symptoms develop, seek medical aid; and
• in the case of small children involved in a suspected redback spider bite, medical aid should be sought, irrespective of whether symptoms manifest