Centipede Bite and Millipede Reaction

ExitCare ImageCentipede bites are associated with pain, localized redness (erythema), and swelling. The bite can be recognized by two small puncture wounds from the jaws of the centipede. Redness and soreness (inflammation) of the lymph channels (lymphangitis), lymph nodes (lymphadenitis), and areas of complete tissue death (necrosis) are uncommon complications.

Millipedes do not bite. But when handled, they do secrete a toxin. The toxin causes local skin reactions. These can be severe. They can progress to:

  • Inflammation and redness (erythema).

  • Blister formation (vesiculation).

  • Tissue death (necrosis).


Local steroids may be applied to the affected area.  Antibiotic medicines may be prescribed if a bacterial infection develops in the bite. 

You might need a tetanus shot if:

  • You cannot remember when you had your last tetanus shot.

  • You have never had a tetanus shot.

  • The injury broke your skin.

If you got a tetanus shot, your arm may swell and get red and warm to the touch at the shot site. This is common and not a problem.


  • Keep the affected area clean and dry. Wash the area thoroughly with soap and water.

  • Only take or apply medicines as directed by your caregiver.

  • Put ice or cool compresses on the bite area.

  • Put ice in a plastic bag.

  • Place a towel between your skin and the bag.

  • Leave the ice on for 20 minutes, 4 times a day for the first 2 to 3 days, or as directed.

  • Watch the affected area closely for worsening pain, swelling, redness, or pus.


  • You develop redness, swelling, or increasing pain in the affected area.

  • Pus develops in the affected area.

  • A foul smell comes from the wound or affected area.

  • Your eyes come into contact with toxic secretions.

  • You have a fever or persistent symptoms for more than 2–3 days.

  • You have a fever and your symptoms suddenly get worse.