I can’t remember how, but my GP preceptor and I started talking about… spiders.
Hurray… not. Spiders scare me 😦
But, as a doctor, it is important to be aware of them as you can have a patient walk in at any time with a spider bite.
According to my preceptor, there are 3 poisonous spiders in Australia to especially look out for:
The Redback spider. At least unlike the Black Widow, the markings are on its back and not on the belly so you can identify it easier!
Please don’t ever let me come across these personally…
More Australian NOPEs. These are all potentially fatal.
The Box Jellyfish – the most venomous marine animal known to mankind
The Blue-ringed octopus. Despite being the size of golf balls, their venom is powerful enough to kill humans – no antivenom is available.
The Cone snail – shoots poisonous harpoons at its victims… in any direction.
And we haven’t even touched on poisonous snakes and lizards yet… O_O
The good thing about these venomous creatures? So much research has been done and is being done to isolate compounds in the venom that can be used to produce medications that save lives. For example, ACE inhibitors (first line treatment for hypertension/high blood pressure) was first derived from the venom of the Brazilian pit viper.