COUCIL BLUFFS – Swimmer’s itch is starting to make its presence known to swimmers at Carter Lake near Council Bluffs.
The good news is that parasitic little pest that can cause welts and itching, only lasts a few weeks and is not life-threatening.
The condition is caused by flatworms, a parasite. The flatworm eggs are transferred to water by bird droppings. The eggs hatch and infect snails, from which the free swimming form of the flatworm larvae emerges. In the absence of a suitable host such as a bird, the parasite will attempt to penetrate the skin of humans, and quickly dies after that, causing an allergic reaction below the skin resulting in welts and itching.
Officials say the symptoms are not life threatening and generally disappear within a few days. An antihistamine along with calamine lotion can be used to treat the affected areas.
Swimmer’s itch is most prevalent along beaches pounded by waves.
Officials say the most preventive measure is to reduce the amount of time in the water and to quickly dry off when getting out of the lake.
For more information on swimmer’s itch visit the following websites: