Woman contracts rash after spending time in Lady Bird Lake, Barton Springs

At least two videos are circulating on social media of women who contracted a rash, called swimmer’s itch, after spending time in Lady Bird Lake and Barton Springs.

Experts say swimmer's itch is a reaction to a parasite, typically found in bodies of water like Lady Bird Lake and Barton Springs.

It's not a water quality issue and officials tell FOX 7 Austin that the lake meets state standards for contact recreation.

Alisa Nappa is one of the women who caught swimmer's itch. After posting her video on TikTok, it caught the attention of many Austinites.

Dr. Brent Bellinger with Austin Watershed Protection Department says the parasite is "living in the waterfowl" and that "it's passing its eggs through the feces into the water." He says the intermediate host are snails.


So Dr. Bellinger says the good news is that if you're not a bird or a snail, swimmer's itch shouldn't pose a serious risk to your health. However because you're not a bird or a snail, you get a rash.

"Our skin layer is a lot thicker and so they're not able to get into our bloodstream. Instead they die in our surface skin and that's what cause the irritation," Dr. Bellinger says.

Swimming is not allowed on Lady Bird Lake due to the hazard of debris under the surface, not due to water quality. Experts say you should never ingest the water and neither should your dog.

It's recommended to rinse off after making contact with water.