Taking a dip in a lake is part of summer fun, especially in this heat. Less fun: swimmer’s itch. That’s the common name for cercarial dermatitis, and it shows up as an itchy rash. At least two cases have been reported from Lake Jacksonville, and the Illinois Department of Public Health is taking the opportunity to let everybody know.


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The condition is no more than a discomfort and can easily be treated with lotions, creams, or baking soda, much like a case of poison ivy. It’s not contagious but is a reaction to parasites in the water. Dr. Connie Austin, who works in infectious diseases for the department, says birds and snails can carry these parasites, so swimmers should watch out for them, too.

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