Swimmers, don't let the lake leave you itchy!

In this week's House Call we're discussing Swimmer's Itch.

"Swimmer's Itch is a rash you get after swimming in warmer inland lakes here in Northern Michigan," said Dr. Jennifer Schell with the Traverse Area Pediatric & Adolescent Clinic. "We usually see it a little later in the summer when the inland lakes get quite warm."

Dr. Schell said Swimmer's Itch is caused by a microscopic parasite that infects snails and water birds, like ducks and geese. It was actually discovered in Michigan in the 1920's originally in a lake over by Cheboygan-Douglas Lake.

"Anywhere between a couple of hours and a couple days after coming into contact with this parasite, you can develops a bumpy, red, very itchy rash on parts of the body that have been exposed," said Dr. Schell. "It is not harmful, and is usually gone in a week, or two at the most. But it doesn't look very nice and can be very uncomfortable."

Dr. Schell said preventive tips include showering after coming out of the lake and most importantly, vigorously towel drying the skin after coming out of the water.

"To treat it, keep your nails cut short to avoid opening wounds when scratching," said Dr. Schell. "Also cool compresses, oatmeal baths, benadryl for itching, and topical over-the-counter hydrocortisone."

If you missed last week's House Call, we discussed ticks. Click HERE to learn more.

For more information on the Traverse Area Pediatric & Adolescent Clinic. Click


or call 231-421-8099.