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Fuzzy, rash-inducing caterpillars return to Central Florida: What to do if you get stung

WFTV Orlando logo WFTV Orlando 4/16/2021 Sarah Wilson
Seminole County Public Schools shared a warning from the Florida Department of Health about the white marked tussock moth caterpillars and their annual resurgence in Florida. © Provided by WFTV Orlando Seminole County Public Schools shared a warning from the Florida Department of Health about the white marked tussock moth caterpillars and their annual resurgence in Florida.

This is one fuzzy little creature you don’t want to cuddle.

They’re small and spiky and can cause a rash that can pack a punch.

READ: Here’s what to do if you get stung by a caterpillar

Seminole County Public Schools shared a warning from the Florida Department of Health about the white marked tussock moth caterpillars and their annual resurgence in Florida.

They said it’s possible children may encounter the critters outside in a yard or on the playground, and that parents should know what to do in case they get stung.

READ: Florida woman warns others after ‘excruciating’ burn from venomous caterpillar

Here’s the advice provided by the department of health if you or your child comes in contact with one of the caterpillars:

  • Remove the caterpillar from the skin without using bare hands.
  • Gently put any kind of tape over the exposed area with the sticky side facing the exposed skin.
  • Pull up the tape, removing any hairs or spines.
  • Repeat with fresh pieces of tape as often as needed to treat the exposed skin.
  • Wash the area gently with soap and water.
  • Apply ice pack to reduce stinging sensation and apply paste of baking soda and water to reduce itchiness.
  • If the rash does not go away, gets worse or gets badly blistered, consider consulting with a healthcare provider for further evaluation and recommendations.

READ: Experts warn against touching furry, venomous asp caterpillar

IO Moth Caterpillar - Pale green with yellow and red stripes. Often exceeds 2″ in length and is fairly stout-bodied. The nettling organs are borne on fleshy tubercles, and the spines are yellow with black tips.

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a close up of a green leaf: Puss Caterpillar - A convex, stout-bodied larva, almost 1″ long when mature, and completely covered with gray to brown hairs. Under the soft hairs are stiff spines that are attached to poison glands.

Puss Caterpillar - A convex, stout-bodied larva, almost 1″ long when mature, and completely covered with gray to brown hairs. Under the soft hairs are stiff spines that are attached to poison glands.

© Provided by WFTV Orlando

A large caterpillar, 1-3/4″ to 2-1/4″ long when mature. It is yellow-brown to purplish-black with many small white spots and a reddish head. Feeds on oak, willow and other deciduous plants.

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Flannel Moth Caterpillar - About 1″ long when mature. Stinging hairs are intermixed with soft hairs in diffuse tufts. Larvae are creamy white , turning dark as they mature. They feed on oak and various other shrubs and trees.

" height="150" width="200"/> a close up of a tree: Hag Caterpillar - Light- to dark-brown with nine pairs (sometimes fewer) of variable-length, lateral processes, which bear the stinging hairs. It is found on various forest trees and ornamental shrubs. Not as common as the other species. © Provided by WFTV Orlando

Hag Caterpillar - Light- to dark-brown with nine pairs (sometimes fewer) of variable-length, lateral processes, which bear the stinging hairs. It is found on various forest trees and ornamental shrubs. Not as common as the other species.

Hag Caterpillar - Light- to dark-brown with nine pairs (sometimes fewer) of variable-length, lateral processes, which bear the stinging hairs. It is found on various forest trees and ornamental shrubs. Not as common as the other species.

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