Venomous caterpillar sends woman to ER in terrible state

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Crystal Spindel Gaston was reaching into the rear door of her Prius outside her house when she felt an excruciating pain in her right leg, she told the Virginia Mercury.

“It felt exactly like a scorching-hot knife passing through the outside of my calf,” said Gaston, 55, of New Kent County. “Before I looked down to see where it came from, I thought 100 percent I was going to see a big piece of metal, super sharp, sticking out from my car.” Feeling “white hot pain,” Gaston went to an emergency room. It would be three days before she started feeling normal again.

(More here about this creature and how to perform first aid if you are afflicted)

Last year in Florida a mom reported: “He instantly felt a sharp, stinging pain and his arm went numb. Within 5 minutes he was dizzy, had lost color, was complaining of the worst pain he had ever felt & his eyes weren’t super focused,” Pergola wrote about her son on Facebook. “We tried to wash it off and I applied some garlic (it pulls venom out usually with bug stings).” said his mother to read the terrifying details here, CBS.

The pain has been described by patients as similar to a broken bone or blunt force trauma. The reactions are sometimes localized to the affected area but are often very severe, radiating up a limb and causing burning, swelling, nausea, headache, abdominal distress, rashes, blisters, and sometimes chest pain, numbness, or difficulty breathing. Additionally, it is not unusual to find sweating from the welts or hives at the site of the sting.

Medical advice may be sought in case of contact with one. It is best if the venom from the spines is treated within hours of first contact. For first aid, it is recommended that the spines (if present) be removed by using sticky tape. Some remedies, which are reported to have varying degrees of success, include ice packs, oral antihistamine, baking soda, hydrocortisone cream, juice from the stems of comfrey plants, or calamine lotion.