September 23, 2023

Laurel Kelly | Mayo Clinic Information Community (TNS)

It’s summertime, and for many individuals which means spending time with household and associates on the lake or river. For some, it additionally means an disagreeable pores and skin irritation: swimmer’s itch.

Swimmer’s itch, additionally known as cercarial dermatitis, is a rash that may happen after you go swimming or wading outside. It’s commonest after being in freshwater lakes and ponds, however you may get it in saltwater too.

There is no such thing as a threat of contracting swimmer’s itch from a properly maintained and chlorinated swimming pool, in response to the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention.

Swimmer’s itch often is attributable to a response to tiny parasites within the water that burrow into your pores and skin when you’re swimming or wading in heat, calm water. Swimmer’s itch just isn’t contagious from individual to individual. The parasites can’t survive in folks, so that they quickly die.


Swimmer’s itch signs embody an itchy rash that appears like pimples or blisters. Signs might start inside minutes or so long as two days after swimming or wading in contaminated water.

Often, the rash impacts pores and skin that’s not coated by swimsuits, wetsuits or waders. Your sensitivity to swimmer’s itch can improve every time you’re uncovered to the parasites that trigger it.

The situation can seem like poison ivy rash and different pores and skin situations. Your healthcare skilled possible will diagnose swimmer’s itch by your pores and skin and speaking with you about your actions and signs. There are not any particular exams to diagnose swimmer’s itch.


Observe these tricks to keep away from swimmer’s itch:

— Select swimming spots fastidiously.Keep away from being in water close to the shore the place swimmer’s itch is a recognized drawback or the place indicators have been posted warning of the chance. Additionally keep away from being in marshy areas the place snails usually are discovered.

— Rinse after swimming.Rinse uncovered pores and skin with clear water proper after leaving the water. Then dry the pores and skin with a towel.

— Skip the breadcrumbs.Don’t feed birds on piers or close to swimming areas.


Sometimes, no remedy is required, and the situation clears up by itself inside per week.

The following pointers would possibly assist cut back the itch:

— Apply a corticosteroid cream or an anti-itch lotion, equivalent to those who include calamine.

— Take an oral nonprescription antihistamine (Benadryl) or one with loratadine (Alavert, Claritin, others). The latter sort causes much less sleepiness than Benadryl.

— Avoiding scratching the rash.

— Cowl affected areas with a clear, damp washcloth.

— Soak in a shower sprinkled with Epsom salts, baking soda or an oatmeal-based tub product (Aveeno, others).

— Apply a paste of baking soda and water to the affected pores and skin.

If the itching is extreme, your well being care skilled might suggest prescription-strength lotions or lotions.


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