Maine Center for Disease Control & Prevention is warning Mainers to protect themselves from browntail moth hairs this fall.
Their tiny toxic hairs can cause a skin rash and respiratory problems.
From Maine CDC:
The browntail moth caterpillar has tiny poisonous hairs that cause dermatitis similar to poison ivy on sensitive individuals. People may develop dermatitis from direct contact with the caterpillar or indirectly from contact with airborne hairs. The hairs become airborne from either being dislodged from the living or dead caterpillar or they come from cast skins with the caterpillar molts. Most people affected by the hairs develop a localized rash that will last for a few hours up to several days but on some sensitive individuals the rash can be severe and last for several weeks. The rash results from both a chemical reaction to a toxin in the hairs and a physical irritation as the barbed hairs become embedded in the skin. Respiratory distress from inhaling the hairs can be serious.
Did you know you could still be at risk of browntail moth rash this fall? Browntail moth hairs can cause an itchy rash and even breathing problems. Take these steps to prevent the itch! Learn more at https://t.co/yFQ3KPpgsg. pic.twitter.com/htEXgWCqgs
— Maine CDC (@MEPublicHealth) October 11, 2023