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Public should be on lookout for swimmer’s itch as summer winds down

July 27, 2010
By STACEY KUKKONEN Houghton Daily Mining Gazette

HOUGHTON - One important thing to remember this summer is to avoid the itch.

Even though swimmer's itch hasn't been reported in any of the local bodies of water, in the past, near the end of July and August, swimmer's itch has been reported locally, said Lynne Madison, environmental health division director.

"Every summer, we put together a couple reports about swimmer's itch and we let the beach owner know and post signs," she said.

The signage warns beachgoers to be cautious where there have been reports of swimmer's itch. A key way to spot a body of water that may have swimmer's itch is if the beach has a large number of snail shells or geese droppings.

Swimming in areas with large water fowl populations and snails should be avoided.

Swimmer's itch, also known as cercarial dermatitis, is caused when tiny larval flatworms enter a bather's skin while the person is swimming.

"It's a flatworm that is in our freshwater lakes," Madison said. "The flatworm has a really interesting lifecycle."



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