Why a Central Texas Lake May Be Causing ‘Swimmer’s Itch’
A TikTok video of a woman claiming she got a skin rash after paddle boarding in a Central Texas lake has gone viral, making many people wonder if the water is safe.
In the video, user Reagan Caussey (@doublerighttwix) shows the rash, which is all over her body, and mentions how uncomfortable she is while warning others to be careful. She says the rash appeared after her trip to Lady Bird Lake in Austin.
What is 'Swimmer's Itch'?
Swimmer's Itch, also called cercarial dermatitis, is caused by an allergic reaction to certain microscopic parasites that infect birds and mammals, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The CDC said Swimmer's Itch is more common during the summer months when temperatures rise. According to KCEN, Physician Guadalupe Zamora says when the parasite comes in contact with a person, it digs into their skin, causing the rash. He recommends that you rinse off your skin as soon as you get out of the water.
Symptoms of Swimmer's Itch
If you're exposed to the bacteria, you may have a reaction in minutes or several days after swimming in contaminated water. Scratching the affected areas may result in secondary bacterial infections.
Swimmer’s Itch Symptoms may include:
- tingling, burning, or itching of the skin
- small reddish pimples
- small blisters
Because Swimmer’s Itch is caused by an allergic reaction to infection, the more often you are in contaminated water, the more likely your chances of developing symptoms. Austin's Watershed Protection Department says when interacting with natural bodies of water, exposure to bacteria or parasites is always possible.