Cases of swimmer's itch, a skin rash typically caused by an allergic reaction to certain microscopic parasites, have been reported at both Phil's Beach and Bangs Lake in Wauconda, according to the village's Facebook page.
The rash, also known as cercarial dermatitis, is found throughout the world and more frequent during the summer months, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The parasites that cause the rash are released from infected snails into bodies of water and typically infect certain animals such as ducks, geese and swans.
Microscopic larvae are more likely to be present in shallow water by the shoreline, according to the CDC. Children are most often affected, because they tend to swim, wade, and play in the shallow water more than adults.
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A woman whose child is believed to have contracted swimmer's itch shared photos of the rash with NBC 5.
In its Facebook post, the Wauconda Park District noted the condition isn't contagious and is commonly found in lakes, ponds and oceans.
To reduce the likelihood of developing swimmer’s itch, the following precautions are advised:
- Do not swim in areas where swimmer’s itch is a known problem or where signs have been posted warning of unsafe water.
- Do not swim near or wade in marshy areas where snails are commonly found.
- Towel dry or shower immediately after leaving the water.
- Do not attract birds (e.g., by feeding them) to areas where people are swimming.
- Encourage health officials to post signs on shorelines where swimmer’s itch is a current problem.