Swimmer's itch recurring problem in Michigan lakes - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Swimmer's itch recurring problem in Michigan lakes

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GERRISH TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) - Swimmer's itch is a painful problem that many northern Michigan visitors can't duck.

Flatworms that spend part of their lives in the bodies of migratory ducks can cause painful rashes lasting several weeks.

It's been around for years but is getting particular attention at northern Michigan's 10,000-acre Higgins Lake in Roscommon County, west of Roscommon.

The lake is popular with ducks and with people, and snails that host the flatworms are common in shallower sections.

Jamie Magnan of Harrison Township says her 3-year-old daughter Bella and 6-year-old daughter Addison developed itchy, red welts that kept the family up for two nights.

Gerrish Township supervisor Frank Homola tells The Detroit News  his community makes swimmer's itch a top priority in the summer.
Symptoms of swimmer's itch may include:


  • Tingling, burning, or itching of the skin
  • Small reddish pimples
  • Small blisters
Most cases don't require medical attention. If you have swimmer's itch, the CDC suggests:


Most cases of swimmer's itch do not require medical attention. If you have a rash, you may try the following for relief:

  • Use corticosteroid cream
  • Apply cool compresses to the affected areas
  • Bathe in Epsom salts or baking soda
  • Soak in colloidal oatmeal baths
  • Apply baking soda paste to the rash (made by stirring water into baking soda until it reaches a paste-like consistency)
  • Use an anti-itch lotion
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