Important Notice to Mariners
Lake Mead water elevations will be declining throughout the summer. Before launching, check lake levels, launch ramp conditions, changes to Aids to Navigation and weather conditions by clicking on More »
Summer Fire Rules in Effect
Lake Mead NRA is now enforcing summer fire restrictions. Please click 'more' to learn about the rules for fire during our hot, dry season. More »
“Swimmer’s Itch” is the name given to a condition caused by flatworm larva. The naturally-occurring parasite needs ducks, snails and warm shallow waters to flourish. It is common in lakes in 30 states.
(1)The parasite lives inside ducks and geese and release eggs into lake waters.
(2) These eggs hatch into small larvae that seek out water snails within which to grow.
(3) After incubating in the snails, the flatworm moves out of the snails.
(4) The flatworm swims in search of water fowl. It is during this journey that flatworms can come in contact with humans. It burrows under the skin where it dies because of its incompatibility with humans.
Symptoms include reddening spots which appear within a few hours. Itching, swelling of the skin, and/or red welts may also develop 10 to 15 hours later. Itching may continue for several days, but all symptoms should disappear within a week. Only about a third of people who actually come in contact with this organisms actually develop “Swimmer’s Itch.” Since children swim closer to the shoreline, where the potential is greater to come in contact with the organisms, they are more likely to develop “swimmer’s itch”. Children also tend not to towel down after swimming, which if done would reduce the chance of developing the condition according to the Centers for disease control.
To reduce the risk of developing this condition, briskly towel off immediately upon leaving the water to remove the parasites from your skin; if safe to do so, swim in water away from the immediate shoreline; and avoid swimming during or immediately after an on-shore wind. Remember there are no lifeguards at Lakes Mead and Mohave. Swim at your own risk.
If you experience an unexplained rash and are concerned, please contact your doctor..
Did You Know?
"Wilderness... is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain." --Wilderness Act