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Swimming in Lac Aylmer - Please Read


Swimmer's itch was reported by guests in 2001-9. I don't remember their latin name, but these little devils appeared 10 years ago, and are carried by ducks and seagulls. Apparently they are appearing in many lakes in New England or Canada. All the lakes in the Gatineau Park, beside Ottawa issue warnings in all their lakes. We are working on the problem. They are benign (not a disease, or leading to any health problems), but they are much worse than a mosquito bite, lasting longer, and affecting about 1 in 3 people.


No reports of swimmers itch in 2007, 2010 to July 2016, so this is the good news.

The other good news is that you can avoid them when they are present. Swimmers must avoid lingering in the shallow waters (first 10 ft) and rub any off with a towel, IMMEDIATELY when they get out. Swim off the dock using the ladder is 100% effective.

If you are concerned about young children, we strongly recommend wearing baby oil or Sunscreen for water sports or SWIMMERS ITCH GUARD (+SPF 30) You will find complimentary bottles in the bathroom. Swimmers Itch Guard has the added advantage of containing sunscreen. Baby oil is a nice skin softener, so this has become the easiest and most popular solution, until they go away.

They prefer the warm and shallow water, so you can use the dock to dive in and get out, to avoid many.

Wear baby oil or an oily sunscreen and that will also protect the skin from swimmers itch. An oil barrier has been effective since we discovered the technique a few years ago. You can see a commercial product exists here, but we beleive baby oil is just as effective. They have appeared in late June, July to mid Aug, when the water temperature is above 72F. They are gone in late August (20th) and September, as soon at it's almost too cool to swim, naturally. How do they know?

Using the dock just so the bathers can avoid the first 20 feet of water!!!! . There were no reports of swimmer's itch in 2007 (too cold?) and 2010 and we noticed a decline in the number of seagulls which may be associated with the problem. Let's hope so.

When a swimmer leaves the water and the water drops on his or her skin begin to evaporate, the tiny cercariae burrow into the skin in an
effort to survive. Sometimes the swimmer feels a tingling sensation on exposed parts of the body.Where water is held near the skin (at
waistbands and leg openings) the cercariae have more time to burrow in. The cercariae are killed by the body’s natural defense mechanisms, but they cause a welt, or red itchy spot like a mosquito bite. People cannot become a host for the parasite, either through skin penetration or by swallowing lake water.

If this poses a major concern for you, please avoid those weeks. June 18-Aug 20. Nature ain't perfect. If you have small children who will be in and out of the water all day long, you may want to consider another place. People who come, manage to cope with this inconvenience and are totally satisfied with their dream holiday at Camp Comfort.

If you have been bitten, you can treat areas with anti-itch cortisonal creams for 1-2 hours of relief. Overnite relief can be bought with Benedryl

Read more: The American Osteopathic College of Dermatology and Wikipedia

Swimmers Itch FAQs.

In summary

1. Swim in the deeper water (50%)

2. Rinse and towel them off quickly and rigourously (95%)

3. Wear baby oil (100%). If you wear the oil, you don't need to do 1 and 2.