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

Blood signature could improve early tuberculosis diagnosis

June 19, 2018
A gene signature in the bloodstream could reveal whether someone is going to develop active tuberculosis (TB) disease months before symptoms begin. Such a signature has now been developed by a team led by the Francis Crick ...

Scientists uncover a factor important for Zika virus host species restriction

June 19, 2018
Princeton University researchers Qiang Ding, Alexander Ploss, and colleagues have identified one of the mechanisms by which Zika virus (ZIKV) circumvents immune control to replicate in human cells. The paper detailing this ...

Toothpaste and hand wash may contribute to antibiotic resistance

June 19, 2018
A common ingredient in toothpaste and hand wash could be contributing to antibiotic resistance, according to University of Queensland research.

Combining different malaria vaccines could reduce cases by 91 percent

June 19, 2018
Using two experimental anti-malarial vaccines, which work in different ways, can greatly reduce the number of malaria infections in animal studies.

Children's immune system could hold the key to preventing sepsis

June 19, 2018
Children's immune systems could hold the key to preventing life-threatening infections and sepsis, a new study has revealed.

Beware of getting a tattoo if your immune system isn't up to scratch, doctors warn

June 18, 2018
Getting a tattoo may have some unexpected complications if your immune system isn't up to scratch, warn doctors in the journal BMJ Case Reports.

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.