Venomous caterpillar sends a girl to the ER in Louisiana

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“It was scary. It was very scary.”

-Heather Trahan, daughter stung by venomous caterpillar

SCOTT, LA — Around Halloween, you’re taught to look out for ghosts and goblins, but there’s something much scarier out this time of year and it could be in your own yard.

It’s the Puss Moth Caterpillar, and though it doesn’t stand out at first, Avery Trahan learned all about them the hard way, “Next thing I know, it felt like a stepped on a dozen pine cones.”

Covered in spines, needles, and sporting a nasty row of teeth, this wooly menace sent Avery to the emergency room.

Her mother, Heather Trahan, didn’t recognize what hurt her daughter at first, “We gave her Ibuprofen. We gave her Benadryl, and the next thing I know my husband looked at me with tears in his eyes and said, ‘her lips are swollen and blue.”

The family is thankful they had an EpiPen on hand whenever Avery started screaming bloody murder and her leg started turning blue. They injected her with it before rushing to the ER.

According to poison control, these toxic toupees are most often found on oak trees during Spring and Fall. They are considered the most venomous caterpillar in the U.S.

Avery spent four hours in the hospital while doctors monitored her reaction. Other kids in Acadiana have also suffered from their sting. In Carencro, a boy was bitten by one on a playground.

Heather Trahan says, “This is not something I want somebody else to go through.”

She posted the warning on facebook which has already been shared thousands of times.

The Trahan family plans to avoid going barefoot outside in the Fall and Spring from now on.

Avery is also spreading the word, “They should leave it alone and back away,” and she is hoping for fewer tricks this week and more treats.

To treat Puss Moth Caterpillars, poison control advises using clear tape to peel spines off the affected skin, applying ice, and baking soda mixed with water paste.

If you have an allergic reaction like Avery, contact a physician immediately.

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