Saturday, November 07, 2015

Swimmer's Itch

It is that time again.  Swimmer's Itch is due to a parasite that lives in lakes.  It is initially in snails, but then the snail releases the parasites which float towards the surface and then latch onto waterfowl, of which loons are a member of the targeted class.  The parasite then infects the bird, which eventually release more into the water which then seek out snails to infect and the process is complete.

What I have noticed is that most of the year these little critters aren't active.  Either the water is too warm or it is too cool, so I had no problem all summer.  In the fall, however, the water temperature is dropping so the month of November is when these little guys get busy again.  Water temperature now is probably in the mid-60's.  I got myself about 20 bites the last time I went swimming.  If I apply sunscreen over much of my body, the number of bites is greatly reduced.  Thus, I will probably reduce swimming for a few weeks and add the sun screen.  Each bite will be a bit like a mosquito bite in lasting two or three days and being a bit itchy.  Thankfully my body isn't reacting to them as badly as it did a few years ago, although I have by far the strongest reaction to these bites among those who swim with me.  For now, I am looking forward to the water temperature dropping to the 50's, since they will be too busy shivering to bother with biting loons.

No comments: