Health > Bites and Stings
Bites and stings can be either poisonous or non-poisonous. The most dangerous Australian animals and insects are the taipan, tiger snake, death adder, the funnel-web and red-back spiders , the blue-ringed octopus, cone shells, stonefish, bullrout, box jellyfish and sting-rays
The bites of most spiders and insects, including mosquitoes, fleas, and flies are usually not dangerous to the majority of the population. The swelling and pain usually lasts a few days. Mosquitoes in certain areas may transmit diseases such as malaria.
If you are bitten or stung by a non-venomous animal, medical attention may still be needed. This is especially the case if their is an allergic reaction to an otherwise non-venomous sting or bite.
However, for people allergic to insect or spider bites, these bites can cause severe trauma and shock. Also, the bites of a few spiders, ticks, and insects are poisonous or associated with specific diseases.
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Although most ticks bites are harmless, several species can cause life-threatening diseases.
Bites from spiders can be poisonous or non-poisonous. If bitten by a funnel-web or red-back you need to seek immediate emergency attention. Bites from other spiders are seldom fatal, however some are at risk - infants, the elderly, and people with allergies. Other less venomous spiders can also require medical attention.
This spider is a particularly venomous insect. The male is more so than the female and is smaller and more slender with a body of about 3 cm in length. This spider is large, black or can be reddish brown and is hairy. It is largely in the Sydney area and the coastal areas of New South Wales.
The red-back spider is only the size of a pea and is black with a reddish stripe on it’s back. The female is the dangerous of the species.
Sometimes, an insect or spider bite causes a potentially fatal allergic reaction known as anaphylactic shock. Its symptoms include:
The tick is only small, is oval-shaped and is commonly found along the eastern coast of Australia. This tick buries its head under the victim’s skin. It’s venom can cause paralysis, skin irritation and should be removed as soon as possible.
See the section on insect bites and stings as well.
The blue ringed octopus are found along the Australian coastline, usually in rock pools. They are up to 20 cm in length (from end to end when their tentacles are spread) and the bite is often painless. The venom however is very dangerous and can bring on symptoms straight away. They often look attractive to children and they must be warned to stay away from them.
These water creatures are found in the areas off tropical northern Australia. The tentacles may cause breathing and circulation failure and is fatal.
Check the best time of the year to swim in certain areas, before you go swimming.
The lethal part is attached to the long tail on this creature.
Always wear shoes when walking in rocky beaches and coral reefs and do not pick up odd looking rocks.
Do not apply pressure immobilisation.
For minor bites some naturopaths recommend calendula ointment or tea tree oil.
Homoeopathy - Pyrethrum tincture may help relieve pain. For allergic reactions, Apis is often helpful to take before the medical person arrives.
Dietary Considerations - Large doses of B-complex vitamins and/or garlic taken orally may act as an insect repellent. Large doses of vitamin C, pantothenic acid, calcium/magnesium combination may benefit.
Aromatherapy - Try applying lavender or tea tree oil neat on the bites for relief.
There are a few things which may help repel insects from you -