Swimmer’s Itch Found in Iowa Lakes

The Iowa D-N-R says swimmer’s itch is starting to show up in some Iowa Lakes. Environmental specialist Daniel Kendall, says we see it every year.

Kendall says the flatworm can’t live in a human and they quickly die, causing an allergic reaction below the skin resulting in welts and itching. He says the parasite eggs are spread by bird droppings that hatch in the water and infect snails.

Kendall says the swimmer’s itch has turned up in northwest and north-central Iowa lakes. He says there are steps you can take to try and avoid getting the itch.

Kendall says the health risk isn’t major, just uncomfortable. The welts and itching caused by the parasite can last for several days to about one week and usually don’t require a visit to the doctor. An antihistamine along with calamine lotion can be used to treat the affected areas.