Cases of swimmer's itch reported at Saguaro Lake

Posted: Updated:
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

PHOENIX -- People heading out to Saguaro Lake this summer will want to make sure they pay attention to where they swim.

The Maricopa County Department of Public Health says several cases of swimmer’s itch have been reported by people who have been wadding or swimming in Saguaro Lake.

Swimmer’s itch is a rash caused by a tiny bird parasite that can occur in natural bodies of water.

People suffering from swimmer’s itch experience itchy reddish pimples and/or blisters that can last for as long as a few weeks.

To avoid getting swimmer’s itch, people are advised to avoid swimming or wadding in shallow water where submerged vegetation occurs. People are also encouraged to avoid marshy areas.

“There are risks when swimming in natural bodies of water and swimmer’s itch is one of those small risks. It is an allergic skin reaction to organisms present in affected bodies of water,” said Dr. Bob England, director of Maricopa County Department of Public Health.

England added that not everyone who swims in a lake runs the risk of being exposed to swimmer’s itch, and that Maricopa County Public Health is “absolutely not” telling people to avoid Arizona’s lakes.

For more information about swimmer’s itch, click here.