We have a visitor on campus, and throughout the city, that greets us 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 the affected extremity. On the skin, the appearance of blood colored spots appears at the site of the sting. Other symptoms may include headache, nausea, vomiting, intense abdominal distress, and swollen lymph nodes.
If you are stung by one of these caterpillars, please seek attention immediately. If this incident occurs during Loyola’s Student Health Services operating hours of Monday-Friday 8:30am-4:45pm, please visit the Student Health clinic located in the basement of the Danna Center, directly below the Orleans Room. If it’s after hours or on a weekend, the treatment guidelines are as follows:
- Use adhesive tape to remove spines that remain on the skin
- Wash the area with soap and water
- Apply ice pack and baking soda to reduce pain and swelling
- Take over the counter pain medication such as Advil, Tylenol, etc to reduce pain
- Take over the counter antihistamines such as Benadryl, Zyrtec, etc to relieve itching
- Call Student Health on the next business day to check-in with us and let us know how you are doing at 504.865.3326
If the pain becomes too severe or if you are having difficulty breathing please go to the nearest emergency department.