July 26 , 2012
At Least Two Cases of Swimmer's Itch Diagnosed
SPRINGFIELD – Doctors have diagnosed two cases of swimmer's itch, also called cercarial dermatitis, in people who swam in Lake Jacksonville last week. Swimmer's itch is a rash caused by an allergic reaction to certain parasites in the water, which come from infected birds and snails. If a swimmer comes in contact with the parasite, it can burrow into the skin causing an allergic reaction and rash.
Signs and symptoms include tingling, burning or itching skin, small reddish pimples or small blisters within minutes to days after swimming in contaminated water. Itching may last up to a week or more, but will gradually go away. Affected persons should try not to scratch the area as it can lead to a secondary infection. Most cases of swimmer's itch do not require medical attention. If you have a rash, try the following for relief:
Anyone who swims or wades in infested water may be at risk, and the more you swim in the infested water, the more likely you are to develop more serious symptoms. Swimmer's itch is not contagious and cannot be spread person-to-person.
If you have recently been in the water at Lake Jacksonville, or other lakes, and notice a rash, swimmer's itch may be the cause.
To reduce the risk of swimmer's itch
Additional information to help you decide if you want to get in a lake is available at: www.cdc.gov/parasites/swimmersitch/faqs.html
of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
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