6 Tips to Prevent and Treat Swimmer’s Itch

July 2, 2013

Swimmers Itch graphic

Summer has returned to Northern Michigan. The geese are swimming, the beaches are full, and unfortunately Swimmer’s itch is popping up on some of our favorite lakes.

 

We had our first dose of the pesky malady a few years ago, so now I’m prepared when it shows up. But for those who are new the area, Swimmer’s Itch can send you running for dry ground. Before you give up on swimming in our salt-free waters I thought I’d share some handy tips on how to prevent and treat Swimmer’s Itch.


What is Swimmer’s Itch?

If you’re squeemish you may want to gloss over this section as it’s not too pleasant to visualize the source of these scratchy bumps. Swimmer’s Itch is caused by a flatworm parasite. The larvae of the cercaria parasite travel between their water snail host and their intended water fowl host. When they come in contact with human skin they burrow in and immediately die as we are not hospitable. The raised itchy bump is an immune reaction to each site where a parasite has entered the epidermis. These parasites are a not harmful to humans beyond the discomfort of the bumps.

 

So what can you do to keep from ruining your vacation in northern Michigan with a case of the itch?

Swimmers Itch Guard

 

6 Tips to Prevent and Treat Swimmer’s Itch

 

1. Avoid Busy Beaches – Swimmer’s Itch is most common in highly populated beaches where ducks, especially the merganser duck, and snails are commonly found. Avoiding these swimming areas will decrease your chances of coming in contact with the parasite in the first place. Deeper water and moving water, such as rivers, are also less likely to carry the larvae in search of hosts.

 

2. Towel Off - Kids are most susceptible to swimmers itch as they tend to spend long amounts of time in shallow water and air dry. Try to towel off agressively after each swim.

 

3. Protect Your Skin - Creating a waterproof barrier seems to help prevent the parasites from burrowing into the skin. One way to do that is with Baby Oil. But you’re going to want sunblock to go under that. And kids are squirmy enough putting on one protective layer, much less two. We’ve discovered two brands of sunblock that do the job. Bullfrog gel sunblock works pretty well and is readily available in most stores. But we’ve had the best luck with a Wisconsin product called Swimmer’s Itch Guard. It’s made from natural ingredients, smells and feels a lot like vapor rub, but it works like a dream. This is the best prevention we’ve found. You can find it in a few Traverse City stores, and order it online here: swimmersitchguard.com It’s pricy, but if your kids plan to spend much time in the water it’s well worth it.

 

4. Don’t Panic - If you get the dreaded itch don’t panic and swear off swimming for the rest of the season. The bumps will itch for a day or two then they’ll just be red and ugly but not painful. The more sensitive your skin is the more susceptible you are to the parasites. I’ve swam with my kids and never got it when they’ve been covered. So it doesn’t affect everyone the same way. Unfortunately if you’ve had it once, you’re more likely to get it again.

 

5. Treatment - Applying an antihistamine creme on the spots to help with the itch, or swallowing a dose of Benadryl if it’s really bad, has always helped my family. The bumps will go away in about a week. (The worst part is the fearful look you get from strangers who think you have a raging case of measles.)

 

6. Don’t Feed the Ducks! – Waterfowl like merganser ducks, Canada geese, swans, and mallards are the hosts of these parasites. The eggs are returned to the water in the duck feces thereby repeating the life cycle. When the ducks are fed at beaches they congregate there thus making those sites especially susceptible to Swimmer’s Itch. On lakes where swimmer’s itch is common you can expect every common merganser duck is infected and capable of spreading the parasite.

 

Swimmer’s Itch is a pain, and unfortunately it seems to be growing in prevalence in Northern Michigan lakes, instead of receeding. But I hate to hear mothers swearing to keep their kids out of the lake for the summer because of an early case of the itch. Follow these steps and hopefully your summer will be filled with splashing and fun instead of itching and scratching.

 

For more information on Swimmer’s Itch visit this website from Hope College: http://www.swimmersitch.org

Sony Glasses Provide Access for All at TC’s State Theatre

June 7, 2013

Sony Entertainment Glasses State Theatre TC

Traverse City’s State Theatre seeks to improve the movie-going experience for the visually and hearing impaired

 

This week I attended a special demonstration at the Traverse City State Theatre to learn about the Sony Entertainment Access Glasses. These devices provide closed-captioning for the hearing impaired, as well as audio assistive technology for the visually impaired. The State Theatre is considering a purchase and sought input from the public.

Nearly 50 people turned out to test the devices. Annie Campbell from the Disability Network helped organized the event which drew members of the community with a wide range of accessibility challenges, including a large group from the TC West ASL class along with a sign language instructor.

A representative from Sony brought a few devices for members of the audience to test. The glasses project captions 10 feet in front of the lenses, but are only visible to the wearer. The text can be adjusted for brightness and distance from the lens, and can be worn over other types of eyewear. Since the captions are projected on the lens instead of appearing on the screen, they fill follow when you move your head, and are not a distraction to other audience members.

"This is as close to open captions as you can get," explained Tyler, the Sony representative who came from California to demonstrate the devices.

An audio assistive part of the device is included in the glasses. The headsets aid the visually and hearing impaired with a description of what’s happening on screen in between the dialog. Imagine a narrator reading scene descriptions from a screenplan.

Sony Entertainment Glasses State Theatre Sony Entertainment Glasses State Theatre

Deb Lake from the State Theatre was in the house to get feedback from attendees. "We really want the theater to be accessible to everyone," she said. In fact some assisitive technology is already in place. An induction loop system is available to feed sound directly into cochlear implants in the form of a headset. The theatre previous pursued the MOPIX system and decided not to dedicate their fundraising dollars there after discovering they were somewhat cumbersome and distracting to other theater patrons. The good news nearly $7000 was raised to purchase MOPIX, which could be reallocated to the Sony glasses.

Based on feedback from the attendees the Sony glasses are a good solution. The State Theatre plans to negotiate a price with Sony, who previously had only sold these systems to major multiplexes in larger cities. Just another example of why our little community theatre deserves recogintion as the Best Theatre in America!

 

 

 

Pirate’s Cove Raises Money for Wounded Soldiers

May 24, 2013

“Putting for Patriots” Event at Pirates Cove Adventure Park in Traverse City

 

Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf, in Traverse City, Michigan will host the 7th Annual “Putting for Patriots” fundraiser over Memorial Day weekend. This national event will occur simultaneously at 33 Pirate’s Cove, Pirate’s Island and Jungle Golf miniature golf courses throughout the United States. 

 

Fundraising efforts began earlier in May and will culminate on Memorial Day weekend to support three charities, which serve our wounded, their families and survivors of the fallen.  These organizations include: “Hope For The Warriors”, “Homes for Our Troops” and “TAPS—Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors.”  Pirate’s Cove, Jungle Golf and Pirate’s Island will donate a percentage of their total sales on Saturday May 25th & Sunday, May 26th.  Since its inception, this event has raised over $128,000.

“Memorial Day was specifically founded to remember those who died serving our nation,”
notes Brad Graft, Pirate’s Cove Partner and Regional Director.  “The Pirate’s Cove / Pirate’s Island family thought it appropriate to establish an annual event to serve charities that assist our living veterans and the survivors of fallen military members. These are men and women who have sacrificed so much for our freedom.”

Pirate’s Cove and Pirate’s Island operate 33 miniature golf courses throughout the United States.  For more information, visit their Web sites at www.piratescove.com, www.piratesislandgolf.com, and www.junglegolfminigolf.com. Additional information on the above charities can be found by accessing their Web sites:  www.hopeforthewarriors.org, www.homesforourtroops.org and www.taps.org.

“Light it up Blue” for Autism Awareness April 2 in Downtown Traverse City

March 28, 2013

 

Join us as we “Light It Up Blue” a World Autism Awareness Day, family-friendly event in downtown Traverse City on Tuesday, April 2.

Light It Up Blue begins at 6 p.m. April 2 at ECCO, 121 E. Front St., with food and fun activities with a blue theme. Glowing luminaries will be available for purchase for $5, with proceeds to benefit the Traverse City Area Public Schools iPads for Autism program.

Downtown merchants are encouraged to decorate their storefronts in blue in honor of the event. At 7:30 p.m. participants will carry the luminaries along Front Street to the Open Space. At the Open Space, participants will place the blue glowing lanterns in the shape of a puzzle piece, another symbol of autism. The event will be captured on video and an overhead photo with the community will be taken to show Traverse City’s participation in “Light it up Blue.”

Blue luminaries are available for purchase in advance at Old Mission Traders, 215 E. Front St.

If you live in the Traverse City area we encourage you to come down for this fun event. But even if you can’t we encourage everyone to Light it up Blue whereever you are. Here’s what you can do:

  • Wear blue clothing, nail polish even hair paint
  • Turn your porch light blue with a bulb from Home Depot. Special bulbs are for sale with proceeds to benefit Autism Speaks
  • Decorate your door, your yard or your desk in blue or with puzzle pieces, the symbol of Autism

 

World Autism Awareness Day logoLight It Up Blue is a worldwide event in which participants seek to light prominent landmarks blue to help raise awareness of autism, a developmental disorder now estimated to affect one in 50 children. In Michigan, the Mackinac Bridge will be lit blue on April 2. Other prominent buildings have included the Empire State Building in New York City and the CN Tower in Canada.

In Traverse City, Light It Up Blue is organized by the Scavenger Hunt for Autism, a fundraising event set for April 13 that will also benefit TCAPS’ iPads for Autism Program.

“We’re excited to add this prelude event this year to further increase autism awareness,” Scavenger Hunt founder Brandy Wheeler said. “Kids, parents, grandparents and community members of all ages in between are invited to help make the Open Space as blue as the bay.”

For more information on Light it up Blue or the Scavenger Hunt for Autism on April 13 visit www.traversetraveler.com/autism or find us on Facebook
 

Cherry Stop Re-Opens as Old Mission Traders

February 15, 2013

Old Mission Traders Traverse Traveler cardAfter a month long transition, and a move next-door, the owners of the Cherry Stop have re-opened their business as Old Mission Traders.

 

The Cherry Stop first moved downtown in 2002 and operated as the only cherry-centric store in Downtown Traverse City. Owners Nick & Jamie Roster purchased the business in 2005 and began updating, remodling and adding new features. They expanded their product lines to include a large selection of local Michigan wines, which prompted the addition of UnCorked, an all-Michigan wine bar. 

Over the last few years the Rosters brought much of the production in-house and began to produce homemade fudge, bakery items and experiment with new lines for The Cherry Stop. They added barbeque sauce, mustards and developed natural low-sugar versions of their popular jam. But they were always limited to Cherries.

Traverse City has grown as a foodie town. The Rosters realized there were so many companies they already carried that offered wonderful products beyond cherries. From nut butters to viniagrettes they wanted to do more. And the concept for Old Mission Traders was born.

After the closure of the Uncorked wine bar they had more elbow room than they needed. The opportunity to swap spaces with Momentum arose and it seemed like a perfect fit. Despite the proximity of the move, there was a lot of work to be done to make the new space suit their needs. Floors were refinished, displays were built, and a kitchen had to go in downstairs for all their homemade products.

 

Old Mission Traders Opening

Today Old Mission Traders officially opens their doors to the public, just in time for the Winter Comedy Arts Festival in downtown Traverse City. Inside you’ll find the same friendly staff, and all the products you knew and loved from The Cherry Stop. Soon there will be new products under the Old Mission Traders name including a maple viniagrette and a pear vanilla bean dessert sauce.

Old Mission Traders interiorOld Mission Traders interior

So while you’re laughing it up at the Comedy Fest this weekend stop in and say hi to our friends at Old Mission Traders at 215 E. Front Street, downtown Traverse City. You can also continue to shop online at TheCherryStop.com until the Old Mission Traders website is up and running.

Stay tuned for a grand opening soon when some of the Old Mission Traders products are bottled and ready to be unveiled.

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