LAND O’ LAKES, Fla (WFLA) – Logan Pergola had no idea what got him.
All he knew was his wrist was “on fire” and the pain was traveling up his arm.
The 15-year-old was volunteering with his family last Saturday doing some landscaping in Zephyrhills. As they were clearing trees and brush, something stung him, leaving a large grid-like mark on his wrist.
“It’s burning,” he told his mom, Andrea. Shortly after, an angry rash began creeping up his arm.
Then, it spread to his chest.
His mother got him to a sink and washed the original point of contact on his wrist. She even tried an herbal remedy and put garlic on the wound.
“I was hoping the garlic would pull the toxins out,” said the mother of three.
But, Logan wasn’t getting better.
He grew pale and the pain got worse.
“My father saw the caterpillar, put on gloves and picked it up. We put it in a baggie and began doing some research on it quickly,” said Andrea.
Within minutes, the mom figured out what it was. The insect her son had come into contact with appeared to be what’s commonly referred to as a puss caterpillar or asp caterpillar, often found near oak trees.
“We found out that this particular caterpillar has poisonous hair on it and also has venomous glands. And, since it appeared to be an adult, we knew the poison would be even stronger. We knew we had to get him to the emergency room,” Andrea said.
The family rushed Logan to Florida Hospital in Zephyrhills, where doctors knew immediately what they were dealing with, especially when they saw the caterpillar enclosed within a baggie.
They began to administer medications through an IV, including a high dose of Benadryl, prednisone and anti-nausea meds.
“Logan was in and out, really out of it, in a lot of pain. After about three hours, he finally opened his eyes and began talking to us. We had prayed over him earlier. I was totally focused on him and didn’t want to panic,” said Andrea. “We just wanted him to get better quickly.”
“I would tell anyone out there to wear gloves,” said Logan. “I wasn’t wearing any.”
Andrea says she created a post on Facebook to let family and friends know what was going on with her teenage son. The post has now reached well over 300,000 shares.
She had no idea the story would grow so quickly and travel so far. Her main goal was to warn other parents and families out there.
“We are native Floridians. We are outside all the time, camping, outside, in the woods. We had no idea this was out there. I would just hate for a small child to pick this up. Logan is healthy and weighs 100 pounds. I know this would hurt a small child even worse than my 15-year-old son.”