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Posted: September 05, 2014

Doctors: Don't pet fuzzy caterpillar

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By Cox Media Group National Content Desk

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It looks harmless enough, even inviting petting, but stay far away from one furry caterpillar.

According to WFLA, the puss caterpillar is actually the most poisonous in the U.S. and it's been found in Florida.

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Scientists say there are bristles under the hair that break off when touched, releasing venom into a person's system.  The venom then causes serious pain, like a sting from a scorpion or jellyfish according to KTAL.

WTVT reported that the puss caterpillar, or Megalopyge opercularis, can not only cause pain, but also vomiting and convulsions.

KXAS reported that when working outside, keep an eye out for them, since they can fall out of trees.  Also warn children about the dangers since they may want to pick up the cute but dangerous animal.

So what should you do if you accidentallyget stung?  Doctors told WFLA to place Scotch tape over the area and remove it to take out the spines.  Then cover with ice packs to reduce stinging, followed by a baking soda and water paste. 

KXAS added to also flush the area with soap and water, monitor the sting, and if the pain or swelling gets worse, see a doctor.

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