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Posted on: July 6, 2022

Swimmer's Itch Information

Recent reports of Swimmer's Itch also have raised concerns, so please read on for important information!

Shelburne Beach water is sampled once a week for e-coli in accordance with State Health Dept. regulations for public beaches. So far, our results (including most recent results on June 30) have been extremely low and of no concern for e-coli. We also monitor daily for blue-green algae, which has yet to make an appearance this summer, but remains a concern for all areas of the lake. If we need to close the swimming area at Shelburne Beach at any point this summer due to E-coli or Blue-Green algae, it will be posted at the beach and on our website, and a notice will go out in Front Porch Forum.

 Swimmer's Itch has been reported at Shelburne Beach. Here is more information: General Information: What is Swimmer's Itch? It is a skin rash caused by certain parasites of birds and mammals. These parasites are released from infected snails and migrate through waters including those used for recreational swimming. Please note: Swimmer's Itch does NOT pose a public health problem. 

Who gets Swimmer's Itch? People who swim or wade in infested water may experience this itching rash. All age groups and both sexes can be involved, but children are most often infected due to their habits of swimming or wading in the water and playing on the beach as the water evaporates from the skin.

 Does Swimmer's Itch spread from person to person? NO. 

What are the symptoms of Swimmer's Itch? Whenever infested water is allowed to evaporate of the skin, an initial tingling sensation may be felt associated with the penetration of the parasite into the skin. The itching will subside for 10-15 hours and may then become extremely intense. This itching stage usually disappears within a week. 

What is the treatment for Swimmer's Itch? While all cases do not require treatment, some people may seek relief by applying specific anti-itch skin lotions or creams to minimize the itching. 

Vermont Department of Health Recommendations: Swimmers who use the lake, should be briskly toweling off immediately after leaving the water. The parasites tend to penetrate as water evaporates from the skin. Parasites are released from the snail in highest concentration early in the morning, swimming in the late afternoon or early evening, when the water temperature is lower, will reduce the risk.   Swim in an area of the lake with some waves. A calm area of the lake is more likely to produce "swimmer's itch" than one that is not calm. Aspirin and antihistamines may be useful in reducing the symptoms. For severe cases, see your doctor. 

If you have questions about Shelburne Beach, please contact the Recreation Department, or inquire with a staff member at Shelburne Beach.

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