Friday, July 13, 2007

BEWARE of lake water!!

my daughter spent several hours of several days in the shallow water just off the dock while on vacation in wisconsin.
one day she got out of the water and complained that her back was very itchy. i took off her life vest and scratched her back and she kept complaining. i could not see anything on her back or any kind of rash. she moved from me to her auntie liz and begged her to scratch her back as well.
she went inside and showered and when i came into the house she was crying because she itched so bad.

well, we couldn't see anything at all and chalked it up to "melodrama."

in the meantime, monkey had developed these red welts on legs from the knees down. he said they itched like crazy and we all thought they were chigger bites from him walking through knee high weeds in the neighbor's yard.

the next night, auntie liz came in from an evening outside and complained that she had a ton of mosquito bites on her butt. i found that odd since: a. she had been wearing pants b. she had been sitting in a chair and c. since no one else had been "eaten alive" by mosquitoes.

then came sunday and the red spots.
my six year old developed these red circles from her neck to her ankles. each spot had a small white spot in the center and there were probably about a hundred of them covering her body. monkey said "it's chicken pox". i thought that was ridiculous since they didn't itch or hurt and she didn't have any kind of fever or illness associated with it.
i considered that my son didn't have these spots and i didn't have these spots but monkey and aunt liz did have odd bites that were similar.
hmmmm, monkey was standing in the shallow water while he cleaned fish and his legs from the knees to the ankles were exposed.
hmmmmmm, aunt liz was in the shallow water with mazzy and helping jude catch minnows.

i did a search on "lake itch" and a few other key words and found this.

Swimmer’s itch is a widespread occurrence in Wisconsin and has been reported in many other states and also in Europe and elsewhere in the world. There seem to be no special characteristics of lakes having the problem. Some of the finest recreational waters in the state experience swimmer’s itch annually, whereas other lakes may have an occasional outbreak or none at all. An outbreak may be severe, but last for only a few days, or can be minor and last much of the season.

The irritation is caused during a life stage of a flatworm parasite (Schistosome) which lives as an adult in suitable mammals and birds, such as mice and ducks. The adult worm sheds its eggs via the host’s excretory tract into the water. Here they hatch into a free-swimming stage called a miracidium. The miracidium swim in search of a proper second host animal, a particular type of snail. If a proper snail is found, the miracidium will penetrate into the snail’s tissue and undergo further development. After a three- or four-week development period, another free-swimming stage called a cercaria emerges from the snail in search of the proper primary bird or mammal host

Now, monkey is fairly certain that what is on his legs is this parasite and though I haven't talked to aunt liz (or seen her butt), i'd bet money that is what is on her ass as well.

I gave mazzy some topical steroids and some benedryl and the spots are significantly better (both fewer and lighter in color). It may be just from time or from the meds but I know I will never swim close to shore EVER because the thought of these flatworms all over her little body is completely disturbing. I am still debating on if I should tell her the truth about what caused the spots.

should i tell her so she isn't so inclined to swim only near the shoreline? or not tell her and risk her getting them again?

1 comment:

PreppyGirl said...

Don't tell her yet. I'd hate for her to think all lakes will give you worms! Maybe when she's older, then she'll understand a little better. Poor baby!