A teenager almost died after a caterpillar sting at an outdoor wedding left him unable to breathe.
Ryan Parrish, 16, was attending an outdoor wedding on August 25 in Brooklet, in the US state of Georgia, when a puss caterpillar, also known as the asp caterpillar, attached itself onto his left forearm.
A puss caterpillar is a poisonous bug which, when stung by its venomous spines, can cause extreme pain and health complications to its victims, having left many hospitalised before.
Despite the “hairball looking bug” only being attached to him for a few seconds, Ryan fell unconscious 30 minutes later.
His mother, Megan Tuten, hopes to raise awareness as to how others should react if they are stung by a puss caterpillar.
“When he was at the wedding, Ryan leaned against a van and when he got up realised there was a puss caterpillar on his forearm,” Ms Tuten said.
“The caterpillar released itself after a couple of seconds, but just half an hour later the venomous hairs had injected and caused him to fall unconscious.”
Ryan was rushed to hospital having seizures and breathing altercations.
Ms Tuten said the family were all “worried for the worst” and doctors told them they had “never seen such a big sting” as his blood pressure lowered. He was eventually dismissed with steroids but kept falling in and out of consciousness.
“He then returned home, but still had chest pains, pain in both of his arms and numbness in both of his hands and arms,” his mum said.
“Two hours later he couldn’t take the pain any longer so we returned to hospital where they worked to get his blood pressure back.
“But Ryan was out of it – his eyes were locked into stare for approximately 30 minutes.”
The 16-year-old spent three days in the hospital.
“He had a variety of tests and we found out that it was the puss caterpillar that had done this – and it had messed internally with his heart enzymes and rhythm,” Ms Tuten said.
“Ryan was extremely weak and was unable to even lift up a spoon.”
“But then after 10 days he was able to open a screw-top drink and that was a massive achievement for him.”
Despite having been stung almost a month ago, Ryan is still suffering from complications caused by the bug.
Ms Tuten is now speaking out about what happened to her son in order to stop this from happening to others.
“My advice to anyone injected by the venomous hairs is to get tape and immediately apply it to the injected spot and rip it as if you’re waxing your arm,” she said.
“This will remove the hairs and hopefully get rid of the toxins and stop people from being in Ryan’s situation.
“It was the scariest thing that has ever happened to us – to go from a strong young man to being unable to even feed yourself is crazy.”