Tis the time of year that we all need to be extra vigilant when it comes  to steering clear and staying safe from the browntail moth caterpillars and their toxic hairs that cause a very uncomfortable rash.

Seems almost every time I open my Facebook I see a few more stories of someone going somewhere and coming down with the super itchy rash.

According to the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry the infestation of the browntail moths has been increasing in recent years especially in central and mid-coast Maine. The issue is that the caterpillars have tiny hairs that are barbed and go airborne, once in the air they can easily attach to your skin , if it's exposed and a rash will develop if not removed soon after attaching.
The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry suggests when working in infested areas to make sure to wear proper protective equipment to reduce exposure.

  • Long sleeves & Long pants
  • Goggles
  • Dust mask/respirator
  • Hat
  • shower after working outside to wash away hairs that may have attached to your skin

They also suggest

"don't use leaf blowers or lawnmowers on dry days. Do yardwork on wet days, which decreases the likelihood that the hairs will become airborne. Also, do not dry laundry outside in infested areas. If you can hose down your field or lawn with water to keep the toxic hairs from floating up into the environment."
If you do end up with a browntail moth caterpillar on your skin, you can apparently use duct tape to remove the hairs.  Just be forewarned this will likely result with your own hairs being pulled off as well.  According to a Walmart pharmacy technician, it is also recommended you mix equal parts of Bendryl cream, hydrocortisone cream and witch hazel then apply it to the affected areas.  Keep in mind if the home remedies don't work, you may want to contact your health care provider.
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