Caterpillar sting sends girl to hospital

Katarina Avila had to go to the emergency room after being stung by a caterpillar

9 year old Katarina Avila loves spending time outdoors...

So when she was doing her usual activity of following her kitten up a tree in her Edinburg backyard, she was surprised what happened next.

I placed my hand like this and something stung me.

That initial sting quickly turned into a vicious burning sensation.

My whole hand started hurting and then my arm and there were little red dots all over.

Mom didn't know what was going on either.

When the pain and swelling went up to her neck, I said let's go to the emergency room, said Patty Marshall.

That's where they learned that what Katarina had come in contact with during her playtime outside was a common Asp caterpillar, problem is, it contains fur that contains venom.

It hurt really bad, said Katarina.

We asked the Hidalgo County Health Department whether these stinging Asp's are a problem in the area and the answer is no. There have not been reports of them infesting trees or causing emergencies like Katarina's, but her mom says the nurses at the hospital had seen several patients with the same burn and swelling that came afterwards.

The throbbing pain is usually gone within a few hours for most people but Katarina required a steroid and had to miss school.

She's back at it today even though the mark of her unfriendly caterpillar can still be seen on her finger.

And only a few cocoons remain on the tree where it happened.

Katarina will just be more careful where she spends her free time.