With the warm weather we have been having and many people looking for relief it made me think about Swimmers Itch. Once you have had it, you will never forget, it is absolutely awful. Thankfully I have never gotten it since I have lived in Duluth but I did get it years ago when I was living in the Twin Cites.

Years back some friends and I rented a pontoon on one of the lakes in the Twin Cities, I can't recall which one but was obviously a big one since we rented a boat. It was a hot summer day and not to long after we got out on the water we all jumped in. Within a minute all of us were complaining of our skin burning. We hopped back in the boat and everyone of us was covered head to toe in a rash and it itched like crazy. Needless to say our fun day on the lake was over.

So what is swimmers itch?

According to the CDC "it appears as a skin rash caused by an allergic reaction to certain microscopic parasites that infect some birds and mammals. These parasites are released from infected snails into fresh and salt water (such as lakes, ponds, and oceans).  While the parasite’s preferred host is the specific bird or mammal, if the parasite comes into contact with a swimmer, it burrows into the skin causing an allergic reaction and rash."

What are the symptoms?

  1. Tingling, burning or itching of the skin
  2. small red pimples
  3. small blisters

What can I do to treat it?

  1. Use a corticosteroid cream
  2. Apply cool compress to rash area
  3. Bathe in Epsom Salts or baking soda
  4. Soak in colloidal oatmeal bath.....more

What can I do to try to avoid Swimmers Itch?

  1. Do not swim in any areas where swimmers itch has been reported or signs are posted warning about it
  2. Towel Dry or shower immediately after you get out of the water
  3. Do not swim or stand in marshy water where snails tend to be
  4. Do not attract birds by feeding them when near an area where people are swimming.

* Just like mosquito bites do not scratch the area with swimmers itch, as hard as it is, it makes it worse.