Swimmer's itch makes return to Iowa - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Swimmer's itch makes return to Iowa


The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says that swimmer's itch has made its return to Iowa.

According to the DNR, swimmers at Carter Lake, near Council Bluffs, have encountered the parasitic little pest which causes the condition.

The good news, the welts and itching only last a few weeks and is not life-threatening.

The DNR says the condition is caused by flatworms, a parasite. The flatworm eggs are brought to the water by bird droppings. The eggs then hatch and infect snails.

The parasite then tries 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.

The DNR says that 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, http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/swimmersitch/ or http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/swimmers-itch/DS00902.

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