This tiny caterpillar sent a Virginia 2-year-old to the hospital

Posted at 11:56 PM, Sep 12, 2014
and last updated 2014-09-12 23:56:52-04

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — An encounter with a tiny caterpillar sent a two-year-old Virginia girl to the emergency room, in excruciating pain.

She was playing in the backyard of her Portsmouth home.

“She was screaming bloody murder,” said Melissa Hicks.

Her daughter, two-year-old Chloe Hicks, was sitting on the deck with her mom when Chloe’s hand ever so slightly touched the bug that is called the “puss caterpillar.”

“By the time I got to the emergency room, the rash had spread up her fore arm and was heading up towards her shoulder,” her mom says. “It was just awful, because she couldn’t really tell me what was wrong.

All she could do is scream and cry.”

These little creatures make their home in trees. They can be found along the East Coast, from New Jersey to Florida.

“If you touch their fur, or their spines and hair, you can actually get the little barbs stuck in your skin and that pressure on that gland will release a little bit of the venom.”

Generally there is an instant reaction that will feel like a sting from a wasp or bee.

It causes redness, swelling that can spread up the arm. The sensation can last up to 20 minutes.

“Some people also complain of nausea, feeling sick to their stomach,” said Dr. Elenor Kurtz, Bon Secours Internal Medicine Physician

A day after her horrific encounter with the puss caterpillar, a red mark was left on her hand.

“She woke up this morning with a little bit of tenderness in her hand. but other than that, she’s been fine,” her mom said.