The McHenry County Department of Health has issued a contamination advisory after reports of swimmer’s itch at Crystal Lake Main Beach, officials said.
The McHenry County Department of Health (MCDH) said they received recent reports of the condition occurring at Crystal Lake Main Beach, 300 Lakeshore Drive in Crystal Lake, after people swam in Crystal Lake.
MCDH and Crystal Lake Park District are monitoring for additional complaints, the department said in a statement. A swimmer’s advisory has been posted at the beach.
Swimmer’s itch, also called cercarial dermatitis, appears as a skin rash caused by an allergic reaction to certain microscopic parasites, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The parasites are released from infected snails into fresh and saltwater, such as lakes, ponds and oceans, the CDC says.
The condition is not contagious but causes tingling, burning or itching of the skin from blisters on the surface of the body.
Those who experience symptoms of swimmers itch are asked to contact the MCDH by calling 815-334-4585 or the beach operator.
The advisory will remain posted until no additional complaints are received for a minimum of 10 days, the health department said.
Last week, at least a dozen children developed swimmer’s itch throughout their entire bodies after swimming in Bangs Lake in Wauconda.
The Wauconda Park District said on Thursday they had been made aware of the cases but they did not specify how many people got it.
“If you do not wish to swim and want to enjoy the facility, Phil’s Beach offers many more activities including; getting wet on our splash pad, playing in the sand, picnic & play in the grass, Baggo court, game tables, and lunching on our plaza or under gazebo,” the park district said in a statement.
According to a CBS 2 report, at least a dozen children developed the condition after swimming on Bangs Lake at Phil’s Beach.
“It felt like a billion mosquito bites, except poison ivy added to them,” 9-year-old Jackson Henson told CBS 2 as he pointed out red welts covering his body.
“I started feeling itchy as soon as I came out of the water,” Jackson said. His aunt said the same thing happened to the other children in the water, including her son.
“Their eyes were burning. They were crying. They were itching,” Denise Bango told CBS 2.
Parents in a Facebook group for Wauconda residents posted photos of their children with red blisters covering their bodies.
The parents said they were upset that the Village of Wauconda and the park district did not post any warning signs about the issue.
One parent told Lake and McHenry County Scanner that the park district knew about the swimmer’s itch after the lifeguards got it while doing their training.
“However, the lifeguards all got it when they did their training, so they knew it was present. And they still allowed the kids to go into the waters. Why? So they can “Recover from covid”?” Tina Fink said.
“It should have been posted, that early in the season, swimmers itch is a possibility. Instead of putting our kids at risk, just so they can make money,” Fink said.
“All I’m asking is that they let parents know, that there may be a possibility of this happening. I do not wish for them to close. We will still be going to Phil’s Beach, to use the splash pad and to hang out with friends,” Fink added.