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Saturday, June 23, 2007

Who Knew???

Okay, so I may just be the only person on the face of this earth that didn't know this, but I don't want to assume anything, and have another sweet child suffer. Some Tufted Caterpillars are Poisonous!!! Yup, they are...those sweet little hairy caterpillars have toxin in their hairs. WHO KNEW? Seriously....I didn't know this, but I really wish I had.

Go here to see some pictures of what type of caterpillar I am talking about. I don't know about you, but I played with these cute little buggers a lot as a young girl. I never had a problem. NEVER! So today, when Sugar Bear found two in our yard, I let her hold them and touch them all she wanted. It was fun and exciting for her. About 15 minutes after she lost interest in them, I noticed some red bumps on her face. Upon further inspection, I found over 20 red welts on her face, neck, arms, hands and chest. Each red bump had a tiny black hair sticking out of it. I tried to pull them out, but they just broke off. My poor sweet darling started itching like it was going out of style. I hurried her out of her clothes and into a cool bath, while I dialed "ask a nurse"! Guess, what? The nurse didn't know anything about caterpillar stinging hairs either. We did toss around ideas for relieving her itch, and reducing swelling. As I type my girl is covered with a baking soda paste.

Upon an Internet search, I learn that some of these seemingly harmless creatures can actually cause a DEADLY allergic reaction!!! ummm....hello....why didn't I know this? On this site, I read the following:
As a rule, it's best not to handle hairy caterpillars because some of them are poisonous. When specialized hollow hairs on these caterpillars are touched by us "thin-skinned" humans, one or more may break off, create a tiny scratch on our hand, and release a strong toxin into the nearly invisible wound. This process--called "urtication"--is analogous to a bee sting, except that the poison is transmitted by a scratch rather than an injection. Caterpillar urtications can cause severe allergic responses and even death in some people, so--as we said--better NOT to handle hairy caterpillars unless you know they are harmless varieties.

Sugar Bear is fine. She is napping now, and I am checking on her for breathing issues. I just feel so responsible for her discomfort. I don't want this happening again. So please join me, in being aware. I feel like such a heel for letting my girl get hurt by this darn thing. I am constantly encouraging her to experience nature. Now it has come back to bite us in the fanny. :( I now have to tell her the next time we see a cutie pie caterpillar that we can't touch it. darn it!

13 Live It or Love It:

Keara @ Now I Know What Life Is All About said...

Poor Makenna :( Poor Mama :( I am so sorry this happened. I had no idea either. I hope she feels better soon.

Providence Handmade said...

Oh, Corey!! Bless BOTH your hearts. I am so glad she's okay, though.

Laura said...

Oh no! I had no idea either! I'm so glad Kenna is ok, and I hope she's back to normal very soon!

Amanda said...

Oh, Corey! Poor Kenna! Glad she is doing well, though. Poor thing.

Pam said...

Thank you for telling me, as I had no idea that those cute little guys had a mean side!

Nichole said...

Oh my goodness!!!! I never knew!! Poor Kenna. I hope she gets relief from the itching.

Nikkie said...

I had no idea they were dangerous either! Thank you SO much for the heads up though. I hope Kenna girl recovered from this ordeal and still loves nature as much as always!!! Dont beat yourself up mama, just be glad she just got a few itchies and nothing worse!

Boricua in Texas said...

Oh, wow. How scary, Corey! How is she doing now?

Thanks for the heads up.

Sara@Sarandipity said...

Oh no! I'm so glad Kenna is ok! I hope this doesn't make her wary of nature too much.

I used to handle wooly bears all the time when I was little. I never had any problems, except one time. I handled a dead one that I found in my sand box and rubbed my nose. Shortly after I noticed little black hairs on the side of my nose and it hurt a lot. No swelling or anything. I never even considered that the caterpillar was poisonous. I just thought it was because it was dead and the hairs fell out and I got them on my nose.

Thanks for passing along the info. Right now NY is swarming with those gypsy moth caterpillars. Yuck! I hope Kenna is back to her old self soon! And hugs to you, Mama. It wasn't your fault.

Corey~living and loving said...

Thanks everyone for your concern. Kenna is great. There is just small red spots now. No itching...and swelling. All is well. :)

Anonymous said...

Wow, Corey! I just came over from your other post, and I had NO idea about this. Yikes!

Jo Beaufoix said...

Bliey Cor, I missed this one. How scary.

Anonymous said...

Oh, wow! I don't remember seeing this post, Corey! I've never heard of this either :( We have a caterpillar in our butterfly pavilion right now (a non-tufted one) that Jacqui is convinced will turn into a blue morpho. Near as I can tell, it will become a brown moth of some sort if it survives ;)

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