Monday, August 13, 2007

Swimmers Itch

No, this isn't a post about how I can't wait to get in the pool to do laps. This is something much more serious. Swimmers itch is a serious condition - if you are exposed. I had the unfortunate experience of coming in contact with the dreaded source of swimmers itch this past July. I'd heard about it for years, and never thought much of it despite the warning signs I'd seen posted at state parks in Wisconsin. I never had any symptoms that I was aware of. Then one night while on vacation at the lake in Wisconsin, I started feeling like there were worms crawling around in my eye-brows and around my face (really!). It was the strangest sensation and it lasted all night long. About every thirty seconds or so, I would feel this tingle. My first reaction was to scratch it lightly or just pat the spot. This usually stopped the sensation for a minute or two. But after doing this for a couple hours, I got frustrated - I wanted my z's. I lay there in the dark trying not to touch my face, but it literally drove me crazy. If I didn't scratch the spot, it just got worse. I got out of bed and studied my face, looking for what felt like something breaking through the skin and coming out and wiggling around. Nothing. Was I going crazy? I felt like I was experiencing something a character in a Steven King movie might go through. Well I finally got through the night and the symptoms seemed to pass. I first blamed my bedding. Summer cabin bedding can be notorious for bugs, but that wasn't it when the next night it started again with fresh, clean sheets. Needless to say, I survived, but barely. I've since learned about swimmers itch. Here's a great link that explains swimmers itch in much more detail than I have time or patience for. I pray for anyone who reads this who may come into contact with this larvae, to towel off well and shower after your lake/pond swim. If anyone experiences a night like I had, maybe they could write a good movie about it. It was scary!

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