Swimmer's Itch ~ Hope College, Holland, Michigan
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What is swimmer's itch?

Swimmer's itch is a dermatities that develops on parts of the body that have been exposed to lake water containing certain larval forms of flatworms. Reddened spots, called papules, form on the body within hours after exposure and may itch intensely for several days before subsiding. After approximately one week, the symptoms usually disappear. In severe cases, a person can develop a fever, become nauseated and spend several sleepless nights suffering from intense itching.

Swimmer's Itch
Insect Bite
Poison Ivy
Origination Water Anywhere Ground Grassy areas
Location on body Body parts exposed to water Random Arms and legs Lower extremities (waist, ankles, near pant cuffs)
Appearance Discrete papules Discrete papules Rash (possibly blisters) Discrete papules
Duration 4-7 days 1-3 days 3-21 days 4-7 days
Intensity of itching Severe Mild Severe Severe

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For more information on swimmer's itch:

Harvey D. Blankespoor
Hope College Biology Department
35 E. 12th Street / PO Box 9000
Holland, Michigan 49422-9000
616.395.7279 / fax 616.395.7125