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Lime Lake shore with a sand box

Reporting on Swimmer's Itch

Localized strategies will now be employed to reduce the effects of swimmer's itch at your shore.

Swimmer's itch, also known as cercarial dermatitis, is a common skin condition that occurs after swimming in certain freshwater lakes and ponds. It is caused by microscopic parasites called schistosomes, which are found in snails and released into the water. When these parasites come into contact with the skin, they can cause an itchy rash or small, raised bumps.

Minimize Your Chance of Getting Swimmer's Itch

With all that we have learned in recent years, we know a paradigm shift must occur from lake wide control to individual prevention. The parasite that causes swimmers itch is released from the snail host in the morning and is largely concentrated in the upper layer of shallow water.  Hence the strategy recommendations to swim in the afternoons, with offshore winds, in deeper water, or wear a ‘rashie’.

Lime Lake

Localized Prevention Strategies

  • Cover your skin with full body swimwear. Swimmer's itch rarely affects hands, feet and face.

  • Swim in the afternoon or early evening rather than the morning. Swimmer’s itch risk is greatest before noon.

  • Swim in deeper water.

  • Use a parasite skimmer net to remove swimmer's itch from surface water.

  • Avoid swimming during an onshore wind.

  • Use a ‘kiddie pool’ filled with well water for small children instead of shoreline lake swimming.

  • Towel off very well immediately after swimming.

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