Hairy Caterpillars Are Now in Florida. Contact with Them Can Lead to a Rash
The Florida Department of Health issued an alert for hairy caterpillars.
Health officials said the Orgyia leucostigma is also known as the white-marked tussock moth caterpillar.
The caterpillar is common in Florida, according to the Department of Health.
In fact, in Central Florida... Seminole County Public Schools made a post on Twitter to make parents aware that the caterpillars could leave behind a stinging rash.
Health officials said the bug’s hairs or cocoon can cause an allergic reaction that could lead to an itchy rash.
The DOH said in the past, the rash outbreaks have happened in schools, daycare facilities and playgrounds.
The Department of Health listed tips, if you or someone you know, comes in contact with one of these caterpillars:
- Remove the bug from the skin without using bare hands
- Place any kind of tape on the exposed area
- Pull up the tape to remove any hairs or spines
- Repeat this series of steps with fresh pieces of tapes as often as needed
- Wash the area gently with soap and water
- Apply an ice pack to reduce stinging and apply a paste of baking soda and water to reduce itchiness
- If a rash does not go away, DOH said it is best to call a healthcare provider
Anyone with questions about the caterpillar-associated rashes can contact the Department of Health...
In Sarasota County: 941-861-2900 ... http://sarasota.floridahealth.gov/
In Manatee County: 941-748-0747 (24 Hours/Day) ... http://manatee.floridahealth.gov/
The picture above shows a white-marked tussock moth caterpillar (Orgyia leucostigma), which ranges through much of the eastern United States and as far west as Texas and Colorado.