(NaturalNews) A Sunday afternoon spent playing in the backyard ended with unexpected medical complications for two Woodstock, Ontario, children.
Two-year-old Dayton and his four-year-old sister, Jalyn, were playing in the family backyard under their mother's supervision. In spite of being told that they should not try to play with caterpillars, Dayton picked one up. "It's pretty hard for a two-year-old not to pick up a caterpillar. They are interesting to them," explained his mother, Jolene.
After touching the caterpillar, the two children rushed to the house. By the time they got there, Dayton had already developed a nasty rash on his hands, his face and his tummy. Jalyn was fortunate enough to not get the rash but instead felt nauseous throughout the night.
The culprit is the Hickory Tussock Moth caterpillar, a breed known for having a venom-like substance attached to the tiny hairs covering its body. The hairs are called setae and are arranged in spreading tufts. These caterpillars can grow to about 4.5 centimeters and are white in color, with black markings along the middle of their backs.
The caterpillars have microscopically barbed hairs to hook into the victim
Their hairs are microscopically barbed and can attach themselves to clothes or fingers, from where they can be easily transferred to the face or the eyes. If they do enter the eyes, in time they can generate serious medical complications. In most cases however, contact with the caterpillars causes pain, swelling and itchy skin rashes to appear almost immediately.
This may not have been the only time Dayton had come into contact with these caterpillars. Soon after his family moved into the area, the boy developed a similar rash, which his doctor dismissed as ringworm. However, his mother is now convinced that it was the caterpillars then too.
Mary Metcalfe, who works as a health promotion manager at Oxford County Public Health, said that caterpillars are definitely present in the Southern Ontario area and that both adults and children should try not to touch them. If contact does take place, the best thing to do is wash the affected area with water and soap and apply a calamine lotion if a rash does occur.
The caterpillars can be spotted feeding on hickory, walnut, ash, elm and oak leaves, usually from July to September. Sources for this article include:
About the author: A science enthusiast with a keen interest in health nutrition, Antonia has been intensely researching various dieting routines for several years now, weighing their highs and their lows, to bring readers the most interesting info and news in the field. While she is very excited about a high raw diet, she likes to keep a fair and balanced approach towards non-raw methods of food preparation as well.
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