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Irritating contact with the hairs of a butterfly or moth larva. More than 50 species of larvae possess urticating hairs that contain a toxin. Contact can cause numbness and swelling of the infected area, severe radiating pain, localized swelling, enlarged regional lymph nodes, nausea, and vomiting. Although shock and convulsions may occur, no deaths have been reported. The disease is self-limiting. The larva of the flannel moth, Megalopyge opercularis, known as the puss caterpillar or woolly worm, is frequently the cause of this sting, particularly in the southern U.S. The fuzz from these larvae can be transported by wind. Treatment involves local application of moist soaks and administration of antihistamines.
See also: sting