Higad Attack and Remedy

With what we thought was a happy school day, our Wednesday ended with a frightful higad attack.

I was glad to see my little one emerge from their classroom with high spirits. Her teacher also told me that she’s now loosened up and has participated more in class.She’s learning to socialize. While I was waiting outside, Mikheila ran to me and excitedly showed me another star stamped on her back of wrist. As a reward, I agreed to take her to the playground. It  is a few steps away from the Day Care School. Located under shades of trees are swing, a slide and a see-saw. Although dilapidated, I allow her to play every after classes. She loves riding the swing with her classmates Gab and Dyllan, her new pals. I take it as an opportunity for her to socialize. A 5 to 10- minute of frolicking outdoors won’t hurt. Seeing my daughter smile from ear to ear with excitement makes me say YES every time to not ruin her mood. I should’ve said NO. My answer faded into a faint yes.

A day filled with smiles and laughter turned sour as we suddenly keep scratching unaware of the culprit. Later, I realized we were attacked by what is called HIGAD in Tagalog/Filipino or Orgyia antiqua Rusty tussock moth. Its spiny hair can cause painful, inflamed itchiness which can lead to serious medical condition especially for hypertensive victims.

Regretfully, we ran home quickly. Both plagued with hives. Rashes started to show like bumpy red insect bites. My little one’s left cheek, forehead, neck and left arm were riddled with hives. I panicked. It looked terribly serious. I even asked her to be taken to the hospital. However, with my Mom’s assurance that it will soon subside; and my partner’s undisturbed look,  my worries were changed to a weak smile.

DSC_2242[1] DSC_2348[1]

Here are 7 tips of what to do and to remedy higad skin rashes:

  1. Do not panic! ( I did.) Seek medical attention. Especially for victims with hypertensive conditions(researched), see the doctor immediately.
  2. Remove the clothes you wore when the attack happened. Some caterpillar hair may still linger on them. It might spread all over.
  3. Apply vinegar right away on the inflicted areas. Do this before taking a bath. It will neutralize any poisonous substance/toxins reacting to the skin. Some moth caterpillars’ hairy pencils have histamine on them. Anti-histamine will help with the itch.
  4. Since we didn’t see the culprit if it made contact to our skin, I suspect my daughter may have brushed her arms on the slide railings of the slide or it may have fallen from the leaves. My little one’s forehead and left cheek were swollen right away. Taking a bath will wash away the spiny hairs. Do not take a bath right away unless you’ve applied vinegar on the affected skin or it will spread the plague.
  5. Don’t get sweaty. Sweating or rubbing the area will worsen the itchiness and aggravates lesions. Skin will break and with sweat it will cause prickly painful sensation. Good thing we have air-conditioned room so our little Mikheila needn’t sweat. Worse is if you put vinegar on lesions.
  6. Apply Calamine lotion with zinc oxide. I used Sureaid’s Antipruritic calamine. It’s effective to relieve itchiness. Remind the victim to avoid scratching for it will lead to scars. Cover a thin layer of the lotion on every itchy skin surface. My daughter was not complaining of the itch. She’s so brave, she remained calm.DSC_2349[1]
  7. Take Benadryl. It’s antihistamine. Just to be safe, ask advice from you doctor. It soothes the skin’s reaction to the toxins. It took effect a few minutes after. There’s no more redness. What’s left now are what appeared to be like ant bites. Hubby bought a encapsulated Benadryl for me and syrup for the little one. Take Benadryl every after 4 hours. Continue to apply the calamine for the itch to go away.                                                                                                                                          DSC_2335[1]   DSC_2336[1]

In situations like these, it is important to remain calm. I was lucky my partner maintained his composure.

The lesson we learned from this unfortunate event is to be more stern with the rules. I have to be consistent or she might end up opposing every time and win. Safety must be a priority. My Mikheila was a little stubborn and stayed in the playground much longer. We could’ve avoided what happened. Now, we missed school for 2 days. I didn’t want to discomfort her. Those ugly rashes and the itching can be distracting to her.

I’ve explained to my 3-year old what those rashes are on her arms and neck. She was asking me and I owe it to her to maker her understand that it was caused by those vicious creatures. The playground should be off-limits moving forward. And she agreed. We’ll have to opt in playing somewhere else instead. I guess, she’s just as excited as I am to meet new friends that I became weak in setting boundaries.

Post comments if you have stories like these to share. I hope this will help you if you or a family is victimized by higad.


6 thoughts on “Higad Attack and Remedy”

  1. Hi my dad had the same thing. Except for the rashes. His hand is swelling for the last 2 weeks. He drinks some anti inflammatory meds. But I don’t think its getting better. He doesn’t want to go to the doctor. Its so frustrating.


  2. I believe in Visayas we call this “til-as”
    I had it in Elementary. I had rashes all over my body! My neck, arms, legs, hands… It was so itchy! I missed my afternoon classes but the next day the rashes were all gone and I was fine.


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