Swimmers' Itch at Lochore Meadows
Archived news: published on Friday 17 Aug 2012 by Fife Council
Bathers at Lochore Meadows Country Park are being alerted to the presence of an unwelcome visitor in the shallow waters of the loch, which has caused a small number of swimmers to report an irritating rash.
Swimmers’ Itch, also called cercarial dermatitis, is a skin rash caused by an allergic reaction to a microscopic parasite penetrating the skin and, although not a serious condition, park officials are issuing advice to bathers on how to prevent infection.
Richard Smith, Operations Officer for Lochore Meadows Country Park, said: “This is a minor skin irritation with no serious consequences which doesn’t spread between humans but we do want to alert people to the problem.
“Unfortunately the parasite accumulates in shallow water which is where the greatest numbers of bathers are. Obviously the warm weather has also attracted a greater number of people to the beach area and it is here that the parasite is most prevalent.
“The parasite will only penetrate exposed skin so wearing a wet or dry suit can provide protection, and they are less likely to be present in deep water so those involved in water sports on the loch are at very little risk.”
Symptoms can appear from within minutes of leaving the water to several days later. They can begin with a tingling, burning or itching sensation followed by small reddish pimples, which may develop into small blisters. Itching may last up to a week or more, but will gradually go away.
Because swimmers’ itch is caused by an allergic reaction to the parasite, the reaction is likely to get more severe each time people swim or wade in affected water.
If you have a rash, you may try the following for relief:
- cool compresses
- anti-itch preparations
- Calamine lotion
- corticosteroid cream
Try not to scratch. Scratching may cause the rash to become infected. If itching is severe, your doctor may prescribe lotion or creams to lessen your symptoms.
Water sports and other activities are continuing normally at Lochore Meadows and the situation will continue to be monitored closely.
For more information contactRichard Smith, Lead Officer (Biodiversity & Natural Heritage)
Tel: 08451 55 55 55 + Ext 40 22 62 Contact Richard Smith online
By Post: Fife Council, Lochore Meadows Country Park, Crosshill, Lochgelly KY5 8BA
Mike Fuchs, Service Manager (Parks Development & Countryside)
Tel: 08451 55 55 55 + Ext 44 05 99 Fax: 01334 659516 Contact Mike Fuchs online
By Post: Fife Council, Bankhead House, 211 Tantallon Avenue, Glenrothes, KY7 4QA