Doctors at WSU Med School warning folks to watch out for swimmer’s itch as weather warms
SPOKANE, Wash. — As summer ramps up and the weathers warms, area lakes are also warming, making for a perfect environment for the parasite that causes swimmer’s itch.
“I’ve heard its really bad, really itchy and I really don’t want to get it,” said resident Amanda Wiles.
The parasite is not usually on the lookout for human hosts, instead primarily infecting waterfowl and snails. Once it infects a human, it dies, but not before causing nasty symptoms.
Doctors say those include a rash that can burn or itch shortly after you are infected and that can form into itchy red pimples or blisters within twelve hours and last for days to weeks. Each bump is a parasite.
To prevent the infection, the recommendation is to wash off or towel off after leaving the water and avoiding lakes with known cases.
Once you are infected, doctors recommend several treatments to cut back on the symptoms in order to prevent secondary infections.
Cool compresses are suggested as are Epsom salt baths. Hydrocortisone creams applied to the infection or a homemade water baking soda paste are also a treatment.
Antihistamines such as Benadryl may also limit symptoms.
Not all lakes have the parasite, as it takes the right combination of waterfowl, snails and warm weather, but doctors want the word out as folks head to the lake.
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