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Park service warning of Swimmer's Itch at Lake Mead | Health

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Park service warning of Swimmer's Itch at Lake Mead
Park service warning of Swimmer's Itch at Lake Mead

The Lake Mead Recreation Area is warning people about the potential for Swimmer’s Itch at the lake.

Swimmer’s Itch is caused by a parasite that produces eggs that are passed in the droppings of waterfowl that flock to the lake during migration season. The larvae can be in the water, and when they contact humans, they will burrow into swimmer’s skin.

The contact causes an allergic reaction which results in a rash and severe itchy skin. It usually does not require medical attention. The larvae do not actually develop under a person’s skin but die off quickly.  

The park service is reminding people to not swim in areas with an abundance of birds or where there are a lot of bird droppings. For people who do choose to swim, experts advise toweling off vigorously and rinsing off as soon as possible.

If a person does develop the rash, an anti-itch lotion or corticosteroid cream can be used to ease the discomfort.

Swimmer’s Itch is a common problem in bodies of water used by birds during migration season. 

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