A young boy has suffered a severe rash and extreme pain after touching a black, hairy caterpillar, with some species known to be extremely dangerous and potentially deadly.
The pain was instant and the hives were too according to the mum who shared her story with Tiny Hearts Education. The little boy endured a painful 10-day recovery.
In a post shared on Instagram as a warning for parents, the little boy appears to have welts and burns covering his tiny hand and arm after one single touch.
While it's not known which species of caterpillar caused the damage, there are a few native to Australia that can cause skin irritation when touched due to their stinging hairs.
Sharing the post with their followers, Tiny Hearts Education, founded by paramedic Nikki and her sister Rachel, said the boy "found out the hard way how awful it is to touch a black hairy caterpillar".
"He instantly came out in hives, experienced extreme pain — and had a really awful 10 day recovery! His mama has shared the images and treatment with us," they wrote.
"If your kids are like mine and love bug watching and sometimes touching, know the treatment!"
Treatment for reaction to caterpillars
Experts advise instantly applying sticky tape to the area and pulling it off quickly to remove any hairs stuck to the skin.
Apply a cool compress for 10 minutes and treat with paracetamol and ibuprofen if required before speaking to a pharmacist about steroid cream and oral antihistamine.
Because it might be difficult to identify a caterpillar, it's advised to avoid touching them altogether, as doing so can cause varying degrees of skin burning, extreme itching, dermatitis, hives.
If breathed in, the caterpillars can also cause laboured breathing and eye injuries which can last for days.
It's also advised you wash the area and any clothes that may have come in contact with the caterpillar.
Parents grateful for the tip: 'I didn't know this'
Responding to the post, many parents admitted they didn't know about the dangers caterpillars pose with some saying they often see them around their garden.
"Omg I didn't know this," one person wrote.
"Thank you so much for sharing. We’ve had two in our house the last week!" said another.
"Far out! I remember mum always told me not to touch them but didn’t realise it could get that serious!" A third wrote.
One woman said the same thing happened to her three-year-old recently, and it didn't end well.
"This exact thing happened from a hairy caterpillar on the weekend," she wrote.
"It spread all over his hands, arms, tongue and part of his stomach."
Other parents admitted their kids were "bug lovers" so knowing how dangerous some can be is absolutely vital.
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