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Definition Return to top
Millipedes are worm-like bugs called arthropods. Certain types of millipedes release a harmful substance (toxin) if they are threatened or if you handle them roughly.
This is for information only and not for use in the treatment or management of an actual poison exposure. If you have an exposure, you should call your local emergency number (such as 911) or the National Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.
Poisonous Ingredient Return to top
Where Found Return to top
Symptoms Return to top
If the millipede toxin gets on the skin, symptoms may include:
If the millipede toxin gets in the eyes, symptoms may include:
Home Care Return to top
Wash the exposed area with plenty of soap and water. DO NOT USE ALCOHOL TO WASH THE AREA. Wash eyes with plenty of water if any toxin gets in them. Notify the health care provider if any toxin got in the eyes.
Before Calling Emergency Return to top
Determine the following information:
Poison Control Return to top
The National Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222) can be called from anywhere in the United States. This national hotline number will let you talk to experts in poisoning. They will give you further instructions.
This is a free and confidential service. All local poison control centers in the United States use this national number. You should call if you have any questions about poisoning or poison prevention. It does NOT need to be an emergency. You can call for any reason, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
See: Poison control center - emergency number
What to Expect at the Emergency Room Return to top
If possible, bring the millipede to the emergency room for identification.
The health care provider will measure and monitor the patient's vital signs, including temperature, pulse, breathing rate, and blood pressure. Symptoms will be treated as appropriate.
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top
The symptoms usually go away within 24 hours after exposure. The outlook may be more serious if the eyes were involved.
References Return to top
Cohen J, Powderly WG. Infectious Diseases. 2nd ed. New York, NY: Elsevier; 2004.
Goldman L, Ausiello D. Cecil Textbook of Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007.Update Date: 2/17/2009 Updated by: A.D.A.M. Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Greg Juhn, MTPW, David R. Eltz. Previously reviewed by Stephen C. Acosta, MD, Department of Emergency Medicine, Portland VA Medical Center, Portland, OR. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network (10/24/2007).