01 Oct Skin irritations (caterpillar dermatitis)
One reaction after contact with stinging hairs of the processionary caterpillar may be extreme itching; this can occur hours after contact, but may continue over several days.
After contact with the stinging hairs of oak processionary or pine processionary moths the following symptoms may also occur:
- Redness, swelling, inflammation of the skin
- Inflammation of the conjunctiva and eyes
- Redness, aversion to light, swelling of the eyelids, inflammation of the inside of the eye (extreme case)
- Inflammation of the upper respiratory system
- Inflammation of the throat, swelling of the mucus membrane in the nose, bronchitis, asthma like symptoms, allergic shock reaction (extreme case)
- In the case of processionary moths a further complication is that increased caterpillar contact increases the sensitivity and therefore the intensity of reaction of the affected person.
Immediate measures to be taken when affected
- Shower immediately, wash hair (rinse with soap, do not rub), change clothes.
- Do not scratch; free possible contaminated areas of skin using adhesive tape.
- Contaminated clothes should be stored in an air tight container and washed separately at 60 °C, or even hotter.
- The affected areas can be treated with antihistamine (E.g. Fenistil).
- Should there be extreme itching or if other conspicuous symptoms should appear a doctor should be consulted and he should be informed that the person has been in contact with caterpillar hairs.