National Park Service
U.S. Department of the Interior
LAKE MEAD NATIONAL RECREATION AREA News Release
For Immediate Release: October 22, 2014
Release No.: 2014-84
SWIMMER’S ITCH POSSIBLE THIS TIME OF YEAR
BOULDER CITY, Nev. – Every fall, waterfowl flock to shorelines at Lake Mead National Recreation Area. Parasites present in some of these birds may come in contact with human skin and lead to Swimmer’s Itch.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the parasites produce eggs that are passed in the feces of infected birds or mammals. Through a lifecycle process, larvae may burrow into swimmer’s skin, causing an allergic reaction.
“Because these larvae cannot develop inside a human, they soon die,” the CDC website on Swimmer’s Itch reports. “Most cases of Swimmer’s Itch do not require medical attention.”
Visitors who see excess waterfowl droppings at beaches are advised to stay out of the water. For those who choose to swim amid the birds, they should vigorously towel dry and rinse off as soon as possible.
If after swimming, a rash develops, first-aid treatment includes anti-itch lotion or corticosteroid cream.
This is a common occurrence worldwide during the migration season. For more information on Swimmer’s Itch, visit the CDC website at http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/swimmersitch.