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For information on Lakes in Wisconsin, contact:
Wisconsin DNR Lakes
Division of Water
Bureau of Water Quality

Important Questions and Answers on Wisconsin Lakes

Human Health

What causes swimmers itch?

Swimmer's itch is caused by a blood fluke common in waterfowl. The itching is caused when the fluke, while in the immature stage of its life cycle, mistakes you for its primary host -- waterfowl -- and burrows into your skin. Aside from the annoying itching, swimmer's itch is harmless to humans. The irritation can last from two days to several weeks, depending on the individual's susceptibility. Preventive measures can be taken, and there are no permanent effects from swimmer's itch. Our web page on Swimmers Itch.

Is my lake safe to swim in?

Recent surveys indicated that 60 percent of Wisconsin adults swim. Whether they swim at a pool or in a natural water, common sense precautions can help you maximize your fun. These tips will help you stay safe on the water, avoid getting sun burned and avoid getting sick if there are elevated bacteria levels in the water. Beach goers can now go online to learn up-to-date information about water quality at their favorite Great Lakes beaches and at many inland beaches. The web site, www.wibeaches.us also offers beach goers a chance to get notified by e-mail when a favorite beach is closed because of water quality concerns.