Wisconsin Lake Family Declares Victory Over Swimmer's Itch
published in the 2010 Michigan Riparian Special Edition Vol. 44 No.4
Our story begins in the summer of 1973 when our contractor completed construction of our cabin on Webb Lake in northwestern Wisconsin. It was that summer when our family of Bud, Karen, Tucker 9, Tim 4, Katie 4 months, and Pepper our black lab, began to enjoy and appreciate cabin and lake life every weekend from June to September.
Karen and I loved it and our kids and their friends loved it. And so, they grew up going to the cabin most every weekend – at least during the summer. Today, 37 summers later, we are still going to the cabin on Webb Lake. Our family has changed from 5 and 1 lab to 16 and 2 labs! Now the 8 grandchildren love it too. We have always been an active family, enjoying water sports such as swimming, tubing, water skiing etc. and so we spend a lot of time in the lake and at our sandy beach.
Several years ago, we began to notice more ducks and geese on the lake. Next, we began to notice more snails in the lake. And finally, we began to see red bumps appearing on our skin and especially on the younger grandkids. Those red bumps are itchy! What was going on? We had never experienced this in all the years. Well, you probably know the answer.
Those itchy red bumps are called Swimmer’s Itch. Overnight, our water fun was threatened. What could we do to prevent Swimmer’s Itch? We read and studied most of the information available, talked with DNR officials, and tried many things but nothing really prevented it. Our grandkids were scratching and itching to the point of not sleeping well and neither were their parents or grandparents!
Then, during the summer of 2009, we tried mixing a chemical “block“ with a 30SPF sunscreen. It worked! No swimmer’s itch! Well, let me qualify that. It worked as long as mom or dad applied the lotion to the child. Yes, we had a few red bumps but that was a result of the little ones getting into the water before they had their “lotion” on. Yes, it did work and we gave it a good test. We had a total of approximately 240 grandkid days at the cabin this summer (same as 8 grandkids for 30 days) and they were in the water at least 90% of the days.
When applied and applied properly, there was no swimmer’s itch! It worked on children from 4 to 12 and on adults from 18 to 66. We were thrilled with our success. It was another great summer at the cabin. One last word, during the summer, my grandson, TC, after spending 10 days with us at the cabin, said to me, “Ba, since the ‘lotion’ works, why don’t you sell it?” I said “TC, I think that is a good idea.