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Maine CDC warns of exposure to browntail moth caterpillars this spring

Courtesy: Maine.gov

The Maine Center for Disease Control is warning people to take precautions to protect themselves from caterpillars of the browntail moth, which emerge in spring.

The caterpillars, which have two white stripes and two red-orange dots on their back, shed tiny toxic hairs that can cause skin rashes similar to poison ivy.

The hairs persist in the environment for years. The state CDC advises to check for caterpillar activity outside. The state also hosts an online dashboard, which maps areas of reported activity.

The agency advises against hanging laundry outside any suggests mowing and raking on damp days to prevent the hairs from becoming airborne. Wearing clothing that fits tightly around the neck, wrist and ankles can also help protect against rashes.