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"Swimmer's Itch" Affecting Some Visitors To State Park

New York state says it will make educational materials available about a common freshwater parasite after some visitors reported an itchy rash they developed after swimming at Moreau Lake State Park.

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation says “swimmer’s itch” can last several days but seldom requires medical treatment.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the rash is caused by “an allergic reaction to certain microscopic parasites that infect some birds and mammals.” Symptoms may include tingling, burning, or itching skin, and small pimples or blisters. It is not contagious.

State Parks says it will continue to consult with the Department of Health regarding water quality at the park and adds at this time, there is no significant evidence that the lake should be closed for swimming.

The state recommends the following steps to minimize health reactions:

  • Thoroughly dry off your body after exiting the water
  • Shower after swimming in fresh and salt water
  • Stay within the guarded swimming areas as these waters are tested regularly
  • Check your body after visiting the outdoors
  • Stay hydrated
  • Do not feed ducks, which can contribute to the spread of the bacteria that causes swimmers itch.

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