Northwest Iowa (RI) — Here’s another sign that summer is arriving in Iowa — reports of swimmer’s itch have been increasing. D-N-R fisheries biologist Mike Hawkins says swimmer’s itch is a common issue on Iowa lakes.
He says the itchiness is caused by the microscopic parasitic flatworm.
The larvae end up trying to get under the skin of swimmers if birds are not available. Hawkins says the human body fights off the larvae, but it ends up being an itchy situation. Water that’s dirty or full of pollutants is usually what you want to avoid when swimming — but in this case — Hawkins says the cleaner lakes are the ones where you’ll find swimmer’s itch.
He says swimmer’s itch usually is the biggest problem between Father’s Day and the Fourth of July. There are some things swimmers can do to avoid the problem.
He says to be sure to take some precautions when you are done swimming.
He says it’s a problem that can happen all across the state, but they are seeing many reports now in Iowa’s Great Lakes and surrounding northwest and north central Iowa lakes.
Officials at Lake Pahoja in Lyon County say swimmers itch is affecting their lake now. They say they are treating the beach area for these naturally-occurring pests. They echo the DNR’s advice about drying off as soon as possible after swimming.