There have been several reports of Swimmers Itch at the popular beaches around Lake Stevens.
Swimmer’s itch can cause raised, itchy, red bumps that appear within hours of swimming. It is typically short-term, and symptoms usually last no longer than a week. It is caused by a waterborne parasite, the free-swimming stage of a flatworm. The life cycle is a bit complicated, but it involves waterfowl and snails. Humans cannot be hosts to the parasites, but they can accidentally pick up the parasites when swimming. When the swimmer gets out of the water, the parasites burrow into the swimmer’s skin and then die, causing an allergic reaction in the skin and the subsequent itchy bumps.
There really is no good way to treat a swimmer’s itch, but it can be minimized by toweling off or showering immediately after lake use.
- Since this condition is associated with waterfowl, it is typically seen in areas with high concentrations of waterfowl such as the ducks at the popular beaches.
- Feeding the ducks encourages the ducks to gather in large numbers in the park.
- DO NOT FEED the ducks, this is the best prevention of swimmer’s itch occurring at our popular swimming beaches. Be part of the solution and educate others if you see someone feeding ducks.
For additional information or concerns please contact the Snohomish County Health District at http://www.snohd.org/ or 425-339-5200, or reach out to the Surface Water Team at 425-622-9442.