Swimmer's Itch 

What is Swimmer's Itch? 

Swimmer's itch is a temporary skin infection caused by a parasite found in some lakes and ponds. Swimmer's itch appears during warm weather, typically beginning in June and reaching a peak in July and August. Generally, the rash heals within a week or more, but may persist due to scratching or secondary infections. Should a skin infection occur, consult a physician.  

Symptoms of Swimmers Itch

Symptoms of swimmer's itch may include:

  • tingling, burning, or itching of the skin
  • small reddish pimples
  • small blisters 

Bathers should always rub down briskly with a coarse towel when emerging from the water since the larvae do not penetrate the skin until the water evaporates.

Ways to reduce the risk of Swimmer's Itch

  • Showering immediately after leaving the water may reduce infection.
  • Applying waterproof sunscreen may also help reduce the number of larvae penetrating the skin.
  • Use a fresh towel every time you go swimming.

Who is at risk for Swimmer's itch?

Anyone who swims or wades in infested water may be at risk. Larvae are more likely to be present in shallow water by the shoreline. Children are most often affected because they tend to swim, wade, and play in the shallow water more than adults. Also, they are less likely to towel dry themselves when leaving the water.

You can find more information about swimmer's itch on the CDC website or contact your local health unit office and ask to speak with a Public Health inspector.