As the weather warms, our families love to spend more time outdoors. Especially our children.
They love to climb trees, roll around in the grass, and dig even dig around for bugs.
Caterpillars are often the subject of our children’s attention when they play outdoors. They are colorful and sometimes fuzzy.
Kids love to pick them out and let them crawl around on their arms.
But officials are warning families about a particular kind of caterpillar that can send you straight to the doctor’s office.
It’s called a puss caterpillar and touching can leave you in a lot of pain for several hours because of its stinging venom.
The puss caterpillar, which grows up to become a southern flannel moth in its adult stage.
When in its larvae stage, it’s one of the most venomous caterpillars in the U.S.
The puss caterpillar got its name for its resemblance to the soft fur on a cat’s tail. Their soft-looking far makes you want to touch it but you definitely should not.
Underneath their long furry outer layer hides small extremely toxic spines that stick into your skin.
The furrier the caterpillar, the more it is likely to hurt.
“A puss caterpillar sting feels like a bee sting, only worse. The pain immediately and rapidly gets worse after being stung, and can even make your bones hurt,” University of Florida entomologist Don Hall tells National Geographic.
“How bad the sting hurts depends on where you get stung and how many spines are embedded in your skin. People who have been stung on the hand say the pain can radiate up to their shoulder and last for up to 12 hours.”
The furry blonde caterpillars can be found from New Jersey to Florida as well as westward to Arkansas and Texas.
They usually hide high up in oak or citrus trees but sometimes make their way down them where we can come in contact with them.
If you get stung by a puss caterpillar, try covering the area with cellophane tape.
When you rip the tape off it should pull the spines out and reduce the pain.
You can also place ice packs on the area to reduce the stinging and then follow that with a paste of baking soda and water, the Florida Poison Information Center advises.
If pain persists, you might want to visit the doctor.
Those who have a history of hay fever, asthma, and allergic reactions should immediately call their doctor.
Learn more about these crawling blonde toupees in the video below.
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Source: USA TODAY