A remedy for itchy rashes caused by Brown Tail Moth Caterpillars

You’ve spent the weekend outdoors doing yard work or taking a walk in the woods and now you’ve got an itchy rash on your arms and legs.  Could the Brown Tail Moth caterpillar be the culprit? The Brown Tail Moth caterpillar can now be found from southern Maine along the coast up into parts of downeast Maine and north of Bangor along the Penobscot River Valley. The caterpillar poses a significant health risk due to its microscopic hairs, which can trigger itchy, red skin rashes and respiratory irritation upon contact. While seeking medical advice is crucial for severe cases, Northern Light Pharmacy is offering practical solutions for managing mild to moderate symptoms. Our pharmacies offer over-the-counter and prescription only treatment options. Over-the-counter kits include ingredients to make a spray solution from lidocaine, witch hazel, hydrocortisone and anti-itch cream.   

Respiratory Symptom Guidance: For individuals experiencing respiratory symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, or shortness of breath after exposure to caterpillar hairs, we advise seeking prompt evaluation from a primary care provider. Timely medical attention is essential for proper diagnosis and management of respiratory issues to prevent complications.

Prevention Tips: In addition to offering remedies, we also need to stress the importance of prevention in reducing the risks associated with Brown Tail Moth caterpillar exposure. Simple yet effective measures include:

  • Covering Exposed Skin: Wear long sleeves, pants, and gloves when gardening or spending time in areas where caterpillars are present to minimize direct contact with the hairs.

  • Regularly Washing Clothing and Bedding: Launder clothing, bedding, and any outdoor gear that may have come into contact with caterpillar hairs to remove any lingering irritants.

  • Avoiding High-Risk Areas: Be cautious around oak trees, which are favored habitats for Brown Tail Moth caterpillars, especially during their peak activity periods.

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