In the event of contact with the stinging hairs:
- Remove clothing that contains the stinging hairs.
- Strip the skin with adhesive tape (stick it on the skin, then peel it off).
- Rinse the affected skin or eyes well with lukewarm water.
- Do not scratch or rub!
- In the event of severe itching, an ointment or cream containing menthol, aloe vera or calendula can provide relief. You can buy this without a prescription at the drugstore or pharmacy.
The symptoms usually disappear within a few days to two weeks.
When to contact a doctor?
The stinging hairs of the caterpillar can spread with the wind. If such a hair gets in your eye, it can cause very serious complaints. You can then get an ocular inflammatory reaction that may lead to blindness (ophthalmia nodosa).
- If you get eye complaints after close proximity to oak processionary caterpillars, you should see an eye specialist immediately.
Sometimes contact with an oak processionary caterpillar can cause a serious allergic reaction.
- Call your GP or central doctor’s office immediately if, after contact with the caterpillar, you experience difficulty breathing or swelling of the eyelids, lips or tongue.