Did You Know: Millipedes Can Burn You

Thinking of all the times we played with millipedes when we were children.

Cover image via Sukan Star TV (Facebook)

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Millipedes are often considered as common, harmless creepy crawlies.

However, a Thai man recently took to social media to warn people after he suffered an injury to his foot caused by a millipede.

Facebook user Nangan Songkran Sangkabkaew cautioned people to not overlook the invertebrate after his skin was burned by one while wearing his shoes.

Taking to his personal account last Tuesday, 6 June, he wrote, "This is a reminder for everyone. Watch out for your children and grandchildren.

"It's the rainy season and there are lots of millipedes around. Millipedes are poisonous."

The man, from Chiang Mai, Thailand, said he did not realise the millipede was in his shoe when he was going out

However, after less than 30 minutes walking outside, he told Khaosod Online that he started to feel pain and a burning sensation in the toes of his left foot.

Quickly taking his shoes off, he saw his toes had started to swell and blister, and hurriedly went to wash his feet, before examining his shoe and finding a millipede.

He rushed to a hospital and was informed by a doctor that he had suffered a millipede burn.

Unlike centipedes, millipedes do not bite or sting.

However, some species do secrete a fluid that can cause chemical burns to humans if handled with bare hands.

According to pest management website Breda, millipedes release a foul smelling liquid from their glands as a defence mechanism to keeps predators away.

Medical website MDedge states that this secretion contains poisonous toxins to the human skin called quinones, which can burn or blister the skin, as well as cause dark brown staining.

While they resemble burns and scalds, and may hurt for a few days, the discolouration and blisters often resolve on their own over time with proper wound care.

Eye exposure may result in more severe injury and will need prompt medical attention.

As for Nangan, he said the doctor treated his millipede burn with a disinfectant and asked to see him again in three days to follow up

Reposts of his photos on Malaysian community pages have since garnered thousands of reactions and shares across Facebook, with netizens shocked by the incident.

"Be careful of millipedes. Just found out that they are dangerous. We used to play with them when we were children, it's lucky that we never got hurt by their toxic secretions," said one of the pages that has over 11,000 reactions.

Here are other creepy crawlies that you should be aware of:

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