Cure for painful and itchy higad attack (hairy caterpillar)

Our garden has a santol tree and a mango tree. During the summer times there are a lot of higads, hairy caterpillars. Sure they are pretty when they become butterflies, but they are feared by everyone for their viciously painful and itchy hairs. One only has to say “higad” and cause anyone to freak out.

We have quite a good enough number of experiences with higads, myself and my children.  I will share with you how we do cure higad attack at home.

In the unfortunate event that you or a loved one are victimized by a higad, these are the cure steps to take:

  1. Remove the offending higad via a stick, gloves or paper, healer or helper must NOT hold the higad with his bare hands or he will be victimized as well.
  2. If you can get hot water immediately, do so and dip that part struck by the higad or just wash.
  3. Look at the skin first if higad hairs are conspicuously sticking out. If yes, get tweezers and pull them out.
  4. Get a hand full of rock salt, and rub vigorously for some 5 minutes on affected area to remove remaining higad hair stubbles.
  5. Get virgin coconut oil and apply liberally on and around the affected area.
  6. By this time it is expected that the pain has been reduced and itchiness is left. Continue massaging that area to assure the victim of the cure, especially if it is a child.

Your child should be happily playing again within 1 hour.

I hope this little higad cure recipe helps you. Share your higad cure technique!

higad, hairy caterpillar

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  1. I just had a higad-attack a recently, and my former teacher thankfully offered a quick cure than ensured that the spines/hairs would be completely removed and rashes would not break out. Of course first I had the creature removed, then I refrained from moving the affected area so that the spines would not be lodged deeper. I guess this is a common mistake when people get in contact with higads; in their panic they tend to move around a lot which aggravates the situation. My skin did not have rashes at all because I immediately froze after seeing the higad, haha. My teacher then said that we must melt a candle over the area, on which the spines will stick. It will then be easy to remove the spines once the wax cools.

    Of course this cure hurts like hell so your cure would be more advisable for kids. :D But it was quick and effective too, especially since I was at school, where no tweezers or hot water are easily available. I was also lucky that the teacher is the adviser of the Catholic org, so she had candles within reach. :)

  2. gabby peren says:

    My fingers touched something soft while I was trying to remove something at the back of my neck. It was night and I did not see what it was but I was sure Higad yun. The itching progressively got worse. I soaked the area with alcohol. I felt some relief during the cooling but that was only lasted a few seconds.
    After 2 days, the area was still itchy. I went to a clinic and the nurse dubbed some ammonia. According to the nurse, ammonia is their usual first aid for higad itch.
    I think removing the fine spines with twissors or candles drops should be the best cure, after reading your articles.

  3. t.y for this great tips my 3year old son just had a big huge caterpillar itch and he coudnt sleep so i heard from a friend your website has goo d tips thanks to you me and my son was able to sleep

  4. i had a higad attack last month when i came home to the philippines.. it went in our room while we were sleeping, and it went in my back.. i was freaking out and my mom put “dahon ng sili with salt”.. i was fine after that. unfortunately, the higad really loves me and after 3 days, he went back to our room and attack me again. this time it was in my hands and i saw the spikes and just got it with a tweezers.

  5. I have been unfortunate to have had the itchy buggers leave there hairs on me a numerous amount of times over the years… most of the time I place the affected area in hot water, wait for skin to go soft, dab dry and then apply packing tape and rip it back in hope to rip the hairs out… however, most of the time I’m not near such thing as packing tape, tweezers, wax etc… By the time I’m near some sort of relief products I’m swollen to the extreme and wanting to rip my skin of…

    I would like to add, you don’t have to be in the presence of a hairy caterpillar to have there hairs imbedded in your skin, you can simply be in contact with there near invisible trail they have left behind…

    Worse cases for me, last night I put on my sneakers that were at the front door, I did not have socks on, and some little bugger of a caterpillar had been in there, my foot became swollen in 5 minutes… hot water and vinegar relieved me, however due to the location being on the soul of my foot and walking around for 5 minutes before the effect took place the hairs had truly embedded themselves, bloody nightmare, I have tried everything to get the near invisible hairs out, this time I have to just simply wait for this to pass…

    The most embarrassing one was about 3 year ago, I grabbed my jeans of the line and a pair of jocks, got dressed, went to meet friends out for dinner with my wife, by the time I had arrived every one was sitting down ready to order, with in minutes I was scratching my crutch, then all of a sudden I was in excruciating pain… I went to the toilet; pulled my pants down only to see all around my crutch was highly inflamed by a bastard itchy… a trail must have been left behind on my jeans and jocks when they were hanging on the line… I had to leave straight away to get home and just sit in a hot bath for relief… was the worst ever…

    To this day I still manage to come in contact with these buggers… there needs to be a cream or something that will dissolve the hairs or relieve the itch ASAP, surely there has to be a better cure then hot wax or packing tape..

    As I type my foot is still annoying the hell out of me, I cant walk around cause it just irritates it worse and swells up… grrrrr, death to all itchy’s I say..

  6. one attacked me right on my bed. It disrupted my hard coming sleep wit it’s painful itchy spikes. It had the guts to go up my head afterwards. I was able to capture it. I first made sure i gave it a slow and painful death with a whole box of matches. Stick after stick i burned it slowly till it finally realise to avoid my room in it’s next life. That was a remedy that gave me back my sleep

  7. I was under a tree in Manila and all of a sudden I noticed some very itchy thing on my arm. I kept on scratching the itchy area and later found out that a higad is crawling in the camera bag I was carrying. Per some people’s advice I applied some vinegar and took a shower as soon as I reached home. The feeling is like having an allergic reaction after eating food with salmonela. After shower I applied alcohol and the itch has gradually subsided. My skin is still swollen but the itch is almost gone after an hour.

  8. Thank you for the remedy you made i was attacked by the higad then i try to do the remedy that post

  9. i’m actually trying this one out right now… and so far, it seems effective… it suppresses the itch. and the rashes gradually deplete. nice advice. thanks a lot.

  10. I have had that caterpillar attack me several times, my mom swears by her technique. She says rub the itchy part of your body with HAIR, because it will get rid of the caterpillar hairs stuck on your body. She lived in the Philippines when she was younger and says that is what everyone at her school would do when they were attacked.

  11. my daughter just picked a caterpillar up after i told her not to, she is now crying her eyes out as my girlfreind tries all these diffrent methods, hot wax seems ok, we may try the tape meathod now to, if i had my way id leave them in there to teach her a lesson for not listning!!! arrrrrrrrr

  12. thanks a lot. i was just attacked by one this morning and tried to put alcohol my initial reaction to itching. Then rubbed salt after wards. thank god for internet nd this site.

  13. I have few experiences/attacks of this notorious caterpillar (higad)…I kinda question if its act of “attacking” people. They are just tiny creature who happens to be wondering around with their hairs for their protection! and unfortunate for us that we are not exempted for their hairs that causes or skin to itch…In our experience, we itch even if there is no visible caterpillar around, because of their hair was left behind surfaces. There some instances that we don’t itch at all when we see them on our clothes, we take them slowly (not by hands) we place things like paper where they can crawl their way away from you..slowly taking them out helps not to leave their hairs on your clothing.. if you feel itchy it means the caterpillar’s hair was left on your skin. In my experience, I squeezed accidentally the poor caterpillar on my forehead, I didn’t know that it was a caterpillar, I was sleeping! so what (my mom) did, she took a masking tape and place it on my forehead and slowly peeling if off. we do it several times until all the caterpillar hairs are out on my skin. Any sticky tape will do, (DO NOT TAKE A SHOWER immediately after a caterpillar contact) showering will only spread the caterpillar hairs! what we do…we put masking/scotch tape to affected areas before taking a shower…if your skin still itchy after putting sticky tapes and taking a shower it means the hair had already penetrated your skin..even if you take all the hairs away you will still feel itchy..then we can put remedy for just itchy skin…

  14. I did not itch at all after putting sticky tapes on my forehead so there’s no need to take a shower. We just put anti itch ointment on my forehead skin. The next morning, my skin still look perfect.. :)

  15. how about having the itchy thing without a contact from the bugger? is it possible? for example, your neighbor had a sampaloc tree where those catterpillars live then its hair fall in your roof then it rained and too lucky your roof was a good kind that it had holes and poured every litter it got from the clouds with bugger’s hair.

  16. OMG! Just this afternoon I came to our garage where a leafy guava tree stands tall. I was roaming around, and then all of a sudden I felt very itchy on my right arm. Then my father told me that it was caused by higad(tiny monster). I do nothing to cure it except rubbing anti itch liniment. After hours, rashes have shown..they are turning to black spots.. I was ignorant how to cure it not after I have read your posts..what would I do? To get rid of these rashes..thanks

  17. the higad stick on my clothes when i hang it on the hanging wire when i wore it .suddenly i fell itchy and it forms small red dotted on my skin i cant sleep very well due to the itchyness i want to try what youve said thanks for your advise

  18. Hmmm my pet keenonikie is playing like a badminton with its taiils with the catterpillar it felled at the ground its hairy slimy and sticky eww then i got them at trees and taking at home lol. then i set it free after some moments i am so scared to put that out so i just visit this page lol Thanks for this advise so now i can do it by myself..,.like my neighbor who just hold it lol and catterpillar sticked on her and shes a dead itchy xD was like a worm wriggling xD we gave her vinegar and got it out by tweezers its the DOG WAS TRYING TO EAT THE catterpillar caue he is hungry he ate aour neighbors chicks and trash like napkins and diapers were ASKAL dogs do!! xd

  19. i stepped on a higad last saturday…it hurt for about an hour but its been a week and a day and it still itches and has bumps:(…do u think i should go to the doctor

  20. Palesa says:

    My mom had an itchy burnin sensation last nyt den she woke us ol up only to find out d caterpillr is stil in hr blankts, we ddnt knw wat 2 d until i wnt 0n dis site n read ur comments. Tnx evry1 it rily helpd hr

  21. Hey its me again jaypee.. All I can advice when you are attacked by this tiny creature is whatever happens never rub the itchy part. 1-2 weeks the black spots will disappear. Or you may try applying small amount of salt, just a pinch. The time that you are attacked by this monster try to find scotch tapes and use it to remove the microscopic hairs of the higad..

  22. Just not to mislead anyone due to misinformation. “Higad”(hairy caterpillars) do not become butterflies; they become moths.

    What I usually do is to wash the affected area and rub it with vinegar. You can also try applying baking soda soaked in water to relieved the itching. Afterwards it is best to apply an ointment for insect bites, preferably, essential balm ointment which can be bought at any drugstores.

  23. hi guys a higad fell on me yesterday.the itching is now gone, what to do with the rashes? help!

  24. Help a higad fell in my arm and i felt a ant bite and i saw that hairy higad after i was bitten or sting by that higad i scratched my arm and the rashes are all over my arm it is on the 5th day i think but it is still itchy help pls……….

  25. higad was my worst nightmare, im having trauma actually..but thanks to this site first encounter it was on my slippers higad thorns(as what i call it) was on my feet but i didnt notice.. it’s just itchy so i gave a closer look.. then freak out dnt know what to do,, washed it.. but it leaves me a lump.. so i try to look on the net and read this.. the next day dont know if they really like me, i saw another one on my shorts, found out coz it stings my hand.light up candle poured d itch, but youll cry

  26. my greatest fear is higad. my hair all over my body just stood up while reading all of your stories.

  27. We have a huge acacia tree here in our house and there are lots of higads here! My family had experienced higad attacks and thanks I had gathered some helpful info in this site. What ointment can you recommend to relieve the rashes/itching?

  28. i got smashed by these i unexpectadly layed in there trail to work on my car and after i finished noticed them squashed all over me today i have red dots all over me and on my butt there is such a big patch its like the size of a dinner plate dots everywhere and swelling up im so itchy any help after im sure the hairs in deep i just tried the tape did nothing, we have these things everywhere here i dont like to kill trees but this tree they eat needs to die

  29. justine says:

    My baby’s pedia recommended synalar 10 for insect bites. My baby had a contact with this higad a few days ago. It was so red and my toddler is crying in pain and scratching his legs. After puting synalar on the affected area he stopped scratching and continue playing. It worked.

  30. hi, i just had an attack early this morning when i wore my blouse for school. the itch is already gone but the lumps are still there. how many hours will i have to wait to make this lumps go away or are there any remedies to make them go fast? thanks. ur site was great!

  31. My, my. I was attacked by these ‘higads’ when I was still a kid but our house today is still surrounded with mango trees and aratiles. I always suffer panic attack when I saw one crawling on our walls. I don’t even pick them up even when I have gloves. Ewww. But thanks for these tips, I’ll be able to apply first aid if ever some higad just fall over my head. I hope not.

  32. Today in History class I unexpectedly got super itchy all over my body except for my legs. It was horrible! I asked my teacher if I could go to the school nurse and he said that I should wait a few minutes (he thought it may be allergies and that if I didn’t have trouble breathing I was going to be okay). The trouble is, I’m not allergic to anything, and I doubt I ever will be! After about five minutes, the itchiness all over my body was gradually getting worse and I thought I would literally scratch all of my skin off my body, I was so itchy. So I desperately asked my teach again if I could PLEASE go to the nurse (I was near tears), and he still didn’t think it was worth missing the class. I quote, “What would the nurse do to help you? Do you honestly think this is worth missing the lesson for?” Of course, I didn’t really know how to respond to this, so I just tried to keep quiet. Five minutes AFTER THAT, I was practically crying as I asked my teacher if I could at least go get a wet towel to dab on the rapidly spreading rash that covered my arms, neck, and parts of my face. I could feel the rash spreading over my stomach and back, but I knew it would look weird if I scratched there.
    Well anyway, my teacher said yes, and so I go up to go the bathroom. All of a sudden, my friend that was sitting near to me called out, “Oh my gosh, Sarah! I know why you’ve been so itchy! You have a bug on your back.” Of course, an image entered my mind of a huge, gruesome, ugly thing crawling all over me, and I started squealing, begging another friend sitting nearby to “get it off me!”. Well, she flicked it off, and I saw this tiny black caterpillar on the floor with a white streak through it. All my friends nearby were totally creeped out and I was also practically in tears. I rushed out of the room and to the bathroom, where I stripped off my shirt, shook it out, and started dabbing at my rashes with wet tissues. I was so horrified!
    About a minute later I went back to class and made it through the rest of the lesson pretty calmly, although I was still itching like CRAZY. The wet cloths were helping a little bit, but I still had huge urges to just rip my skin off my body. After history class, we had one more period of the day, but I didn’t think I would be able to handle it without taking a shower first. So I ran to the bathrooms again and took a nice, amazing shower (thank goodness I had extra clothes from PE!). After the shower, I was still itching, but I felt somewhat clean and a little bit more calm about the current circumstances. Nevertheless, I went to the school nurse (who was glad that I came because it could have gotten really serious), and she put this cream all over me that made me just go, ‘Aaaaah’. It was heaven. After that, I went back to math class smelling like medicine but feeling a WHOLE lot better! Thank GOD for school nurses! :)
    Now I’m back home and I’m still itching in some places and I have tons of dots and rashes all over my body, but I feel so much better and I’m glad that this experience is all over and done with! I’ve lived here in Cambodia my whole life and I’ve never gone through this before – it was a nightmare!

  33. My daughter is always been a victim of HIGAD when Northeast Monsoon (Amihan) Wind comes (starting BER months)…What we always do is applying vinegar to the affected area and giving her a shower..But still she feels it itchy… As I got to read your stories, I may conclude that it was because of the caterpillar hair stuck on her skin. I found your suggestions interesting and applicable.. I will try those when that HIGAD attacks again…Thanks folks.

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