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Common skin ailment present at Discovery Park Lake

June 8, 2016

With the warm weather upon us, a common skin condition has been reported at Discovery Park Lake and caution is advised for park users.  Cercarial Dermatitis (also known as Swimmer’s Itch) has been identified and signs are now in place to inform park visitors about the risks. While Swimmer’s Itch generally does not require medical treatment and is not contagious, it can be very uncomfortable.

Swimmer’s Itch symptoms include:

  • Tingling, burning or itching of the skin
  • Small reddish pimples
  • Small blisters

“To reduce exposure to and potential allergic reaction caused by Swimmer’s Itch we recommend to avoid wading or swimming in the lake,” Eric Mone with Deschutes County Environmental Health said.

According to Mone, if a person chooses to enter the water, he or she should immediately rub down very briskly with a towel after leaving the water.  Showering after leaving the water may also help.  More information about symptoms and treatment is available at the Centers for Disease Control, http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/swimmersitch/faqs.html.

The lake at Discovery Park was designed as an irrigation pond and storm water retention basin for the park and roads surrounding the lake.  The water comes from an on-site well as well as run-off from heavy rain storms.  While the Bend Park and Recreation District tests for E. coli and total coliform levels in the lake, there is not a viable method available to test for the presence of the organisms that cause Swimmer’s Itch.

“The lake at Discovery Park can be a reprieve from the heat, but it’s best to take precautions and be aware of risks resulting from swimming or playing in lakes, ponds or other water bodies,” said Michelle Healy, planning and park services director for the District.

For more information about Discovery Park, visit: https://www.bendparksandrec.org/parks/discovery-park/