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anyone ever heard of this?: went to french lake,the wife niece,nephew and some locals swam all day in the lake,the next day everyone who swam in it had itchy red spots all over themselves.[save the jokes]look like bites of some kind? they still have them. doctors answer- "uh...i dunno,looks like a rash or something" thanks doc,heres my $20 co-pay. help!!

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I think they call them Chiggers. Tiny little bugs in the water that get under the skin and I think even lay their eggs under your skin.

I've had them before. EXTREMELY ITCHY!!!!!!!! To say the least. I got little red bumps that formed on my arms. And, if I recall, it took something like 3 weeks for the itching and red bumps to go away. Really sucked! Not harmful to my knowledge though.

Good luck with that one!

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I did not write this by the way.

Swimmer's Itch

Considerable concern was aroused recently regarding a terrible new disease contracted from lakes north and northwest of Edmonton. This disease, named "duck itch" by some unknown namer of new diseases, supposedly caused the necessity of amputating a man's arm. Needless to say, the rumours were false and the condition is a common and ancient one on these lakes, i.e. swimmer's itch.

One man, who was pulling weeds from the water with his right arm for several hours, did get a severe case of swimmer's itch on this arm. In addition to the typical spots (resembling hives or mosquito bites) his arm became swollen and inflamed.

Waterfowl (mainly ducks and geese) are the definitive host of the schistosomes that cause swimmer's itch, hence the probable connection between swimmer's itch and "duck itch." I don't know whether ducks get itchy when the schistosome cercaria penetrate their skin, nor whether they get sick from an infection. However, the schistosomes develop into adult worms and mate in the waterfowl, then the schistosome eggs are passed into the water via waterfowl urine and feces. The eggs hatch in the water producing miracidia which invade snails. Here the miracidia develop into infective cercaria which are released into the water where they again penetrate waterfowl, and on goes the life cycle.

However, if a swimmer happens to be in water containing cercaria, they may decide to penetrate the swimmer's skin rather that the duck's. The cercaria tend to swim near the surface of the water and are attracted to the warm temperature of the skin. Swimmer's at greatest risk are those in warm, shallow, calm water near aquatic vegetation which may harbor snails. Children often get swimmer's itch when wading and playing in shallow and weedy water.

The reaction to cercarial penetration depends upon whether the exposure was a first or subsequent exposure. My understanding is that the itching and subsequent rash is caused by the immune system's reaction to the foreign organisms in the skin, in a similar way that scabies mites cause itching. The difference between swimmer's itch and scabies is that the schistosome cercaria soon die in human skin and are therefore not infectious to others, whereas scabies mites live and reproduce in human skin, thereby causing an ongoing infectious condition.

In a non-sensitized person (i.e. not previously exposed to cercarial penetration) itching and skin irritation can begin within a half hour after penetration by the cercaria. This lasts only 2 or 3 days. A few days later, a second reaction occurs (due to immune response) again including intense itching and accompanied by "spots" (papules). Following subsequent infections, the reaction (itching and "spots') will occur shortly after exposure.

The list of differential diagnoses of this rash includes; contact dermatitis, poison oak or poison ivy, insect bites, impetigo or scabies. However, if your patient has been recently swimming in a lake in this area, swimmer's itch is certainly first on the list. Unless the rash is secondarily infected by bacteria, the only treatment needed is an antipruritic. I don't know which works the best, but since the rash is related to an immune response, something with a topical antihistamine should work best. Caladryl, for example, might work well.

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klbowe has it right. Here is another version (I didn't write this either). chiggers are not (as far as I have ever heard) aquatic, usually in long grass.

The technical name for swimmer's itch is cercarial dermatitis. In developing countries, swimmer's itch translates into "rice paddy itch", "clam diggers itch", "sawah" to the rice farmers in Malaysia, "kubure" or "kobanyo" to the Japanese rice farmers or "hoi con" to Thai rice farmers. In these same places, all swimmers are usually exposed to the risk of cercarial dermatitis as well. On coastal New Jersey, it is called "Duckworms".

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Interesting post and great information guys! A person learns something new every day!

Hopefully the itching goes away soon for those that got "bugged".

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i appreciate the effort and info. it is clearing up now. live and learn. thanks to all of you!!

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Marine,

chiggers are just a part of the great outdoors. Get some clear finger nail polish and cover the main part of the wound......suffocates them and they clear up in a few short days..............knucky

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I have lived on french lake for a long time and I have maybe once had this happen to me if you rinse off after you get out off the lake you will never have a problem with this and dont swim in the weeds thats were the bugs are.

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