Officials warn of swimmer’s itch in Detroit Lake

Published: Jun. 23, 2022 at 9:02 AM CDT
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DETROIT LAKES, Minn. (Valley News Live) - Officials with the city of Detroit Lakes, MN are warning people about swimmer’s itch in the lake.

The city says the lake is scheduled to get treated the last week of June.

Sanford Health says it doesn’t see a lot of cases of swimmer’s itch come through the clinic doors, but one nurse practitioner knows first-hand just how painful it can be.

“I had swimmer’s itch when I was a kid and it’s awful. It’s some of the most itchy bites you can get, worse than mosquito bites, but everybody’s different. There are some people who don’t get much of a reaction,” Christa Christensen said.

Christensen suggests being more mindful and says to pack a few essential items in your beach bag to prevent a future itch.

“Any barrier to prevent that parasite from getting into your skin would be helpful; Applying waterproof sunscreen. I’ve heard of people using coconut oil or Vaseline,” she said.

Christensen also says it’s important to remember to towel or rinse off as soon as you get out of the lake and says the chance of getting swimmer’s itch decreases the deeper of water you’re swimming in. However, if that all fails, she says you can pack a few more items in your bag to sooth your itch.

“Anti-itch creams, like Benadryl creams, chamomile lotion, Epsom salt baths, oatmeal baths,” she suggested.

Minnesota DNR officials say it’s usually about two to three weeks until the peak of swimmer’s itch is over.

Christensen says it’s important not to scratch your swimmer’s itch too much as it can cause an infection. And says to talk to your doctor if you’re concerned about any rash that develops after taking a dip in a lake.

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