We have a visitor on campus that comes around every fall and it’s called the Puss Moth Caterpillar. It is considered one of the most toxic caterpillars in North America. These caterpillars are teardrop-shaped with long silky hair. When the hairs are touched, they break off and remain in the skin releasing venom. Intense throbbing pain develops within five minutes and the pain extends up through the affected extremity. On the skin, the appearance of blood colored spots appears at the site of the sting. Other symptoms may include headaches, nausea, vomiting, intense abdominal distress, and swollen lymph nodes.
If you are stung by one of these caterpillars, please seek medical attention immediately. If this incident occurs during Loyola Student Health operating hours Monday-Friday, 8:30a.m. — 4:45 p.m., visit Student Health located in the basement of the Danna Center. If you are stung after clinic hours, the treatment guidelines are as follows:
1. Use adhesive tape to remove spines that remain on the skin
2. Wash the area with soap and water
3. Apply ice pack and baking soda to reduce pain and swelling
4. Take over the counter pain medication such as Advil or Tylenol to reduce pain
5. Take an over the counter antihistamine such as Benadryl or Zyrtec to relieve itching
If the pain becomes too severe or if you are having difficulty breathing please contact LUPD at (504) 865-3434 and request ambulance transport or go to the nearest emergency department. For a list of local emergency departments please visit Loyola’s Student Health Services website at http://studentaffairs.loyno.edu/health.