Home remedies: Don't scratch swimmer's itch

July 12, 2017 by From Mayo Clinic News Network, Mayo Clinic News Network

Swimmer's itch is an itchy rash that can occur after you go swimming or wading outdoors. Also known as cercarial dermatitis, swimmer's itch is most common in freshwater lakes and ponds, but it occasionally occurs in salt water.

Swimmer's is a rash usually caused by an allergic reaction to that burrow into your skin while you're swimming or wading in warm .

The parasites that cause swimmer's itch normally live in waterfowl and some animals. These parasites can be released into the water. Humans aren't suitable hosts, so the parasites soon die while still in your skin.

Swimmer's itch is uncomfortable, but it usually clears up on its own in a few days. In the meantime, you can control itching with over-the-counter or prescription medications.

LIFESTYLE AND HOME REMEDIES

These tips might help reduce the itch:

- Apply a cream or medication.

- Don't scratch.

- Cover affected areas with a clean, wet washcloth.

- Soak in a bath sprinkled with Epsom salts, baking soda or oatmeal.

- Make a paste of baking soda and water, and then apply it to the affected areas.

PREVENTION

The parasites that cause swimmer's itch live in the blood of waterfowl and in animals that live near ponds and lakes. To reduce the risk of swimmer's itch:

- Choose swimming spots carefully. Avoid swimming in areas where swimmer's itch is a known problem or signs warn of possible contamination. Also avoid swimming or wading in marshy areas where snails are commonly found.

- Avoid the shoreline, if possible. If you're a strong swimmer, head to deeper water for your swim. You may be more likely to develop swimmer's itch if you spend a lot of time in warmer water near the shore.

- Rinse after swimming. Rinse exposed skin with clean water immediately after leaving the water, then vigorously dry your skin with a towel. Launder your swimsuits often.

- Skip the bread crumbs. Don't feed birds on docks or near swimming areas.

- Apply waterproof sunscreen. This has been reported to protect the skin from the parasite that causes 's itch.

Explore further: Shield yourself from 'swimmer's ear'

0 shares

Related Stories

Shield yourself from 'swimmer's ear'

July 8, 2017
(HealthDay)—It's high season for the painful infection known as swimmer's ear, but it shouldn't spoil your fun if you plan ahead.

Poison ivy, oak and sumac rashes can be serious

April 23, 2015
(HealthDay)—Itchy, blistering rashes from poison ivy, oak and sumac are common and are caused by an oil in the plants called urushiol.

Body location plays part in scratching pleasure

January 27, 2012
An itch is just an itch. Or is it? New research from Gil Yosipovitch, M.D., Ph.D., professor of dermatology at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and a world-renowned itch expert, shows that how good scratching an itch feels ...

Recommended for you

Building better tiny kidneys to test drugs and help people avoid dialysis

February 16, 2018
A free online kidney atlas built by USC researchers empowers stem cell scientists everywhere to generate more human-like tiny kidneys for testing new drugs and creating renal replacement therapies.

Expanding Hepatitis C testing to all adults is cost-effective and improves outcomes

February 16, 2018
According to a new study, screening all adults for hepatitis C (HCV) is a cost-effective way to improve clinical outcomes of HCV and identify more infected people compared to current recommendations. Using a simulation model, ...

Study suggests expanded range for emerging tick-borne disease

February 16, 2018
Human cases of Borrelia miyamotoi, a tick-borne infection with some similarities to Lyme disease, were discovered in the eastern United States less than a decade ago. Now new research led by the Yale School of Public Health ...

Flu shot only 36 percent effective, making bad year worse (Update)

February 15, 2018
The flu vaccine is doing a poor job protecting older Americans and others against the bug that's causing most illnesses.

IFN-mediated immunity to influenza A virus infection influenced by RIPK3 protein

February 15, 2018
Each year, influenza kills half a million people globally with the elderly and very young most often the victims. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 37 children have died in the United States ...

A new class of drug to treat herpes simplex virus-1 infection

February 14, 2018
For patients with the herpes simplex-1 virus (HSV-1), there are just a handful of drugs available to treat the painful condition that can affect the eyes, mouth and genitals.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.