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These Steps Can Help Minimize Cases Of Swimmer's Itch At Desert Lakes

With recent reported cases of swimmer’s itch at Canyon Lake, there are some preventive measures that swimmers and families can take while visiting the lakes northeast of Phoenix to reduce the odds of contracting the skin rash. Preventive measures include —

• Avoid swimming or wading in shallow water with submerged vegetation

• Avoid marshy areas

• Avoid shallow areas where snails commonly are found

• If you feel a tingling sensation on your skin, leave the water immediately and brisklyyou’re your skin with a towel

• Towel dry or shower right after leaving the water

Swimmer’s itch, also known as cercarial dermatitis, is caused by an allergic reaction to microscopic parasites (larvae) of certain flatworms that can be encountered while swimming.  These larvae burrow into the swimmer's skin, and may cause an allergic reaction and rash.  Because these larvae cannot develop inside a human, they soon die.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, swimmer’s itch is not contagious and is rarely dangerous. However, it can be uncomfortable as symptoms include —

• Tingling, burning, or itching of the skin

• Small reddish pimples

• Small blisters

Use of Corticosteroid cream, applying cool compresses to the affected areas, bathing in Epsom salts or baking soda, applying baking soda paste to the rash and use of an anti-itch lotion may provide relief.


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