Insect bites that could kill you
Nowadays, we don’t expect to come across any venomous insects in our daily lives or fall victim to dangerous insect bites. Usually, we associate these creatures with the wilderness. But sometimes, an unfortunate few of us will encounter a deadly spider in our home, yard or just going about our errands, and if we don’t act fast, it could be fatal.
Africa is well known for its vast range of animals and creatures; poisonous spiders included. In South Africa, there are a few spider species that you should best avoid.
Insect bites: The Button Spider
Button spiders are found all over the country. These guys prefer dark spaces and will hardly be near populated areas. They prefer quiet.
There are two types of button spiders; the black button spider, and the brown button spider.
The black button spider has lethal venom, while the brown button spider has a neurotoxic venom. This means that it attacks your central nervous system and causes temporary paralysis.
According to News 24, most bites occur when the spiders are disturbed in their hiding places. The button spider we tend to see in sheds and under window sills is the less venomous house button spider.
Female button spiders are the most dangerous. They have the longest fangs of the lot (only their fangs are able to pierce the skin). If you do get bitten, you will likely notice it immediately. The bite marks will burn and swell up. The bites are said to be extremely painful.
Symptoms of their bite include pain, swelling, sweating, nausea and weakness of the limbs. Some people experience violent seizures. A bite from a black widow spider is a medical emergency. Get to the hospital immediately.
Insect bites: Baboon Spider
The baboon spider is part of the tarantula family and can be identified by its large hairy bodies, pads on their feet and the distinct resemblance that the two last segments on its legs have to that of a baboon’s fingers.
The baboon spider has more than 40 individual species in South Africa (and even more in the rest of the world).
The baboon spider is mostly found in the Western Cape. These spiders favour dry shrublands and often live in burrows.
If you are unfortunate enough to come into contact with one, and even have worse luck and get bitten, you will immediately feel nauseous and have a burning sensation in the area of the bite. Get to a hospital as soon as possible.
A bite from a baboon spider isn’t fatal, but it is essential that you get checked out by a doctor to treat the secondary symptoms, says Experiential.
Insect bites: Violin Spiders
Perhaps the most invasive of spiders on this list, the violin spider makes its way onto your clothes, into your shoes and on your luggage. It lives in grassy areas, but will cling to humans; that is how they enter your house and car.
Now, it is important to note that there haven’t been any reported violin spider-related deaths; however, their venom is so damaging that victims have been documented to need plastic surgery after a bite. Violin spiders are usually brown or reddish-brown, with dark markings on their bodies, explains Witbank News. They have characteristic violin-shaped markings on the cephalothorax and are quite often confused with daddy-long-legs, their non-venomous twins.
The superficial bite of the violin spider is painless and initially goes unnoticed. However, after a few hours you will experience a red swollen lesion, sometimes with a purple centre develops. For the next week, you will have bleeding at the site. This will cause a blackened lesion. By day four, the swelling and inflammation subside, while cutaneous necrosis continues to spread slowly. Necrotic tissue sloughs off, leaving a deep ulcerating wound that is slow to heal and leaves a nasty scar.
If you get bitten by any spider, get to the emergency room immediately. If you can, capture the creature, or take a picture of it for the medical professional to know what he/she is dealing with. But, don’t put yourself in more danger to get it. When you get to the emergency room, describe the spider and the environment you were in when you were bitten as accurately as you can. Different spider venom requires different treatment.
In scary instances like this, having medical insurance at your side can be reassuring.
Doctor’s visits can be costly, especially if you need to go multiple times. Plus, the cost of medication and certain procedural expenses can leave you a couple of thousand rand out of pocket.
Medical cover is literally a lifesaver. Emergency procedures, which are always unexpected and occur at the absolute worst time, could bankrupt you!
This is why Affinity Health aims to make affordable healthcare available to all South Africans.
Affinity Health is passionate about quality, affordable and accessible healthcare.
Without medical insurance, you will either need to pay for private care out of your own pocket or use government facilities. The pros of private healthcare are appointments, no waiting periods. No more long queues, putting you at risk.
Affinity Health gives all members access to over 5000 practices and 2000 dentist rooms on its provider network.
When you need a hospital urgently, having Health Insurance comes in handy. Hospital treatment is expensive and will often leave you in a tight spot when you have to choose between getting the assistance you need and covering other expenses.
When it comes to hospital admittance with Affinity, Pre-Authorisation must be obtained in all instances, including emergencies before admission. Pre-authorisation can be obtained by contacting
Affinity Health by telephone on 0861 11 00 33, on WhatsApp at 071 314 5862 or by sending a “please call me” to 071 314 5862. Upfront payments are available to all treating hospitals.