Falmouth warns about browntail moth caterpillars

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FALMOUTH — The town is warning residents of a browntail moth infestation on the northeast section of Route 88. Exposure to the caterpillars’ hairs can cause symptoms ranging from a rash and to respiratory problems.

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, according to the state Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.

The department says respiratory distress from inhaling the hairs has also been reported and can be serious. The caterpillars are active June through August.

People are advised to avoid places heavily infested by caterpillars; take a cool shower and change clothes after any activity that might involve contact with browntail moth hairs; dry laundry inside; and wear a respirator, goggles and coveralls when performing activities like mowing, raking and weed whacking.