It was a regular day in the life of 15-year-old Logan Pergola when he was collecting tree branches one day for volunteer work. All of a sudden, he felt a burning sensation on his hand that later turned into a red grid-like mark on his skin.
Before he could contemplate what had happened to him, it turned pretty worse. It was only after Logan’s mom took a look at the mysterious mark, that the horrifying picture started getting clearer.
While doing some volunteer work on a bright sunny morning, Logan had to collect tree branches. When he was picking out the same from a nearby tree, Logan suddenly, felt something sting on his wrist.
In the next few minutes, Logan realized that a rash was forming at exactly the place where he felt the sting. The rash looked like a red grid-like mark on his skin. But what he didn’t know was that things were about to get much worse.
It didn’t stop at the rash as Logan soon started feeling a bad burning sensation along with the rash. The rash started spreading and the pain was becoming unbearable for Logan.
By the time his mother arrived at the scene, he was feeling very dizzy and became pale. Tears were rolling down his eyes because it was continuously burning with no signs of the rash getting better. Something had to be done.
Even Logan’s mom was scared upon seeing the weird mark on her son’s arm. “How did this happen?” she asked her son, visibly petrified.
“I was picking leaves mom and then something stung. It’s really painful,” replied the teen, shivering in pain. Quite worried, Andrea started with some home therapies while calling 911 at the same time!
As soon as Andrea arrived at the scene, she started doing everything that came to her mind to make Logan feel better. First, she washed the affected area with water repeatedly but when it didn’t help, she tried rubbing garlic on it.
She had seen it on Fox News which claimed that garlic can be used to pull out the venom from bug bites. But nothing seemed to work. What would happen now?
She then rubbed ice, which did give a little relief but it was not a long term solution. In the meanwhile, the pain was getting unbearable for Logan to handle.
“It felt as equivalent to 100 needles piercing,” said Logan later. But what could have been the reason behind this sudden rash? Well, the truth will definitely make you watch your back!
Upon inspection, Andrea finally found the culprit lying around. It was just a ‘cute’ caterpillar that looked particularly harmless. But still, Andrea put on her gloves and put the caterpillar in a bag.
She then rushed to take her son to the local ER. With her son, she also carried the bug which had bitten her son. She wanted to know exactly what it was.
It was later found out that Logan had been the victim of one of the most poisonous caterpillars in North America. According to the University of Florida, the asp caterpillar, also known as the puss caterpillar, is the first stage in the life cycle of the Southern flannel moth.
According to the documents, its sting “produces an immediate intense burning pain followed (by) the appearance of a red grid-like pattern on the skin.”
In her Facebook post, Andrea wrote “Please research this caterpillar, be aware of it and make your kids aware of it. It is not native to Florida, but to Texas, and just happens to live here now.
Please if you are stung or your kid is stung get to the ER and let them treat you. Normal over-the-counter Benadryl would not have treated this at home.”
That begs the question – what exactly happened to Logan when he was admitted into a hospital? The nurses took their own sweet time to figure out what it was but the doctor knew right away and started the treatment.
Logan was connected to an IV with a mix of painkillers and allergy medication for a few hours. After taking a nap, he was good to go!
The pictures featured here might not tell you the complete story of how painful it actually was. During an interview, Logan claimed that it felt like he took a power drill to his arm.
He couldn’t find out the reason behind the sting until later that the culprit was a tiny, furry caterpillar called an asp.
The fuzzy tufts on caterpillars are the major reason behind the rash formation. These tiny, fuzzy hairs are called setae.
If a caterpillar’s body sees a substance as a threat even if it’s not, the immune system will flood the body with a chemical called histamine. This particular chemical is the main reason behind the burning sensation and other symptoms as well.
Touching a caterpillar can trigger this release of histamine through its setae. This is basically a caterpillar’s defence mechanism.
Histamine can cause redness, swelling, itching, rash, welts, and small, fluid-filled sacs called vesicles. In some cases like Logan’s, histamine can also cause a burning or stinging sensation.
After handling a caterpillar, if a child touches their eyes or nose, there could be a more serious reaction It could also happen if a child decides to place one in their mouth.
This serious reaction might include sneezing, coughing, runny nose, red eyes, shortness of breath, mouth pain, itching, and difficulty swallowing.
Since caterpillars look so harmless, their bites and stings often go unnoticed. Rashes from these fuzzy creatures can easily be mistaken for something else, and therefore not treated properly.
Talking about what happened in 2011 in Florida, 23 children in Florida developed rashes from exposure to white-marked tussock moth caterpillars. Most of the children were diagnosed with other conditions at first like chickenpox and even potentially life-threatening MRSA infections.
In some cases, you can get a rash without actually contacting a caterpillar. It can happen when the little tufts can become airborne and land on bare skin.
These little creatures can also leave setae behind on items kids commonly come in direct contact with, like trees or playground equipment. This is most likely to happen when there are a lot of caterpillars in one area.
The first and foremost thing to do is to remove any of the tiny hairs that have rubbed off onto the skin. A strip of tape can come to the rescue and all you need to do is place a strip of tape on the area of skin with the hairs.
The venomous setae will stick to the tape when you pull it off.
If the rash really stings and becomes unbearable, applying ice for 10 to 15 minutes will usually help relieve the pain.
But if it still doesn’t, it is better to rush to your nearest hospital.
Nature often paints dangerous creatures with bright hues that stand out as a warning sign to others in the ecosystem. But when it comes to caterpillars, you might be curious to pick it up and check it out.
Dozens of cool-looking stinging caterpillars reside in the United States and this is the reason why you should admire caterpillars with your eyes and not hands.
Rashes from caterpillars might not be that serious but they can sure be painful.
Let your kids know that it is better not to touch them.