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Swimmer’s itch advisory issued

June 27, 2013
The Daily News

By Theresa Proudfit

Staff Writer

IRON MOUNTAIN - Several cases of swimmer's itch have been reported to the Dickinson-Iron Health Department from swimmers who visited Lake Antoine earlier this week.

Article Photos

Theresa Proudfit/Daily News Photo
A sign at Dickinson County’s Lake Antoine Park warns of swimmer’s itch. Drying off thoroughly and showering after swimming is the best prevention, health officials advise.

Daren Deyaert, environmental health director at the agency, explained that swimmers itch is an allergic reaction and rash to a parasite in the water.

In most cases the swimmer's itch lasts a few days and does not require medical attention. To reduce the risk of swimmer's itch after swimming, be sure to dry off thoroughly and shower, Deyaert said.

Swimmer's itch, or schistosome mercurial dermatitis, is an itchy rash caused by a number of different flatworm parasites. The parasites normally live in freshwater snails and sometimes on waterfowl.

"Dry off as soon as you leave the water, don't sit around in your wet swimsuit," health officials advise. "Shower with soap and fresh water as soon as possible after swimming."

It's also best to avoid wading in shallow areas with lots of snails.

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