Health Concerns

Outdoor recreation is an important part of Utah’s culture. We love to hike, mountain bike, swim, boat, fish, ride ATVs, and more. However, with outdoor recreation comes some inherent risks.

Harmful Algae Blooms

Algae are a normal occurrence in lakes, ponds, rivers, and other bodies of water. Occasionally, large accumulations of algae can result in algae blooms. Some blooms have the potential to become toxic and impact the health of those who come into contact with them.

Both local and state health officials work together with Utah State Parks to keep the public informed about potential harmful algae blooms. Should a Utah State Park waterbody become designated as having a harmful algae bloom, park management will post the appropriate warnings on the park’s homepage. Should they be required, local health officials will also post appropriate signs at the park. Many times, signs will only be appropriate in specific areas that have been impacted by an algae bloom.

Visit the Utah Dept. of Environmental Quality Harmful Algae Page

Swimmers Itch

Swimmer’s Itch is an irritating, yet harmless rash caused by the human body’s allergic reaction to a free-swimming microscopic parasite (cercarial) found in shallow water. It is found throughout the world and is more common during summer months.

Sand Hollow State Park often receives reports of visitors impacted by the itch. However, other state parks and water bodies have the potential to have swimmers itch as well. Please read any warning signs at entrance gates or boat ramps prior to entering the water.

Anyone who swims or wades in infested water is at risk of getting swimmers itch. However, the larvae are more likely to be in shallow water by the shoreline. Children are most often infected because they tend to play in shallow water more than adults. Less than 7% of the population is affected by swimmer’s itch, and of those that are, most build an antibody after one reaction and do not experience symptoms again.

Learn More About Swimmers Itch – Utah Dept. of Health