Centipedes are closely related to lobsters, shrimp, and crayfish. Their bodies are multi-segmented with a pair of legs for each body segment.
Centipedes are usually nocturnal, which means they come out to hunt their prey at night. While they are poisonous and eat insects and worms, they are not typically aggressive toward people. They usually do not bite humans, until they’re provoked.
Though most call it a bite, a centipede stings with its forcipules, which are modified legs with pincer-like tips located close to its head. The site of the bite contains two red markings in a V-shape because of the insect’s forcipules’ arrangement. A bite can be very painful, especially larger centipede bites because they tend to deliver more poison.
Centipede venom contains numerous chemical substances, such as serotonin, histamine, and cardio-depressant toxin-S. Therefore, a bite may result in serious allergic reactions, as well as cardiovascular and neurological effects in people. However, the symptoms may resolve within a few hours to days and do not cause any long-term effects
How is a centipede bite medically treated?
If symptoms caused by a centipede bite are mild to moderate, no active medical treatment is required, and symptoms may resolve on their own. Symptoms of a centipede bite may usually go away within 48 hours. If the bite does not heal or if there is an onset of severe allergic reactions, immediate medical attention is needed.
The doctor may administer a shot of tetanus toxoid fluid or prescribe antibiotics if any infection is suspected.