Biological Services Department
Bay Mills Biological Services conducts beach monitoring the swimming areas at Riverview and Gumshoes beaches through the summer. The water samples are tested for nutrients and E. coli weekly during swimming season. For more information, contact Bay Mills Biological Services at 906-248-8648.
Swimmer’s Itch at Beaches
E. coli is a bacteria often blamed for swimmer’s itch, which is caused by a very different organism. Swimmer’s itch is an unfortunate, yet common infliction that bathers face during the summer swimming season. Swimmer’s itch is an irritating condition caused by a microscopic, parasitic flatworm that results in itchy red bumps on the skin. The flatworms that cause the condition use snails and waterfowl as hosts during their life cycle. Humans get swimmer’s itch when they come in contact with water that is infested with flatworm larvae. The flatworms burrow into the skin causing itchy red bumps that last for about a week. Humans are not the correct host for these flatworms, and they cause no other harm to us other than the irritating itching.