swimmers itch

Get Rid of Swimmer’s Itch Naturally

One of the causes of itching skin after swimming in natural water is swimmer’s itch, an itchy rash that develops small pimples that could turn into blisters. Swimmer’s itch is also known as cercarial dermatitis. It is caused by small microscopic parasites that have infected birds and other animals that have then contaminated the water close to the shore line. The parasite is unable to live in humans, but the larvae will still burrow into the skin trying to infect. This causes an allergic reaction, the itching, and a rash.

Waters that are frequented by ducks, geese, gulls and mammals like raccoons are most likely to be infected. Once they eggs of the parasite reach water they hatch and begin to search for aquatic snails. The second stage larvae that hatch from the snail are the ones that attempt to infect humans, so you want to be sure you avoid any water that is slow enough for snails to live comfortably!

If you or your children develop swimmer’s itch from a certain body of water you should avoid it whenever possible. The parasite is very likely to continue inhabiting the waters and each subsequent exposure to the parasite larvae will cause progressively more severe symptoms.

It is important to note that well maintained swimming pool water is not a suitable habitat for the parasite larvae. As long as you are maintaining and chlorinating your water you should be able to swim without fear of infection.

What are the symptoms of Swimmer’s Itch?

  • Itching
  • Rash
  • Small pimples that show up after you wash
  • Pimples that turn into blisters
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Lack of sleep from severity of itching

How can I prevent Swimmer’s Itch?

  • Choose spots where you’re going to swim carefully. Avoid places where others have come back with a rash, avoid places where snails are common, and avoid stagnant water where a parasite could thrive.
  • Make your way into deeper water if you’re a confident swimmer. Staying out of shallow water helps keep the parasite from sticking to you.
  • Rinse your body off immediately after swimming and vigorously dry yourself with a towel.
  • Make sure you wash out your swim suits after every use!
  • Don’t feed animals near standing or slow moving water.
  • Use waterproof sunscreen. The parasite seems unwilling to burrow past it to get into the skin.

How do I treat Swimmer’s Itch?

  • Make a paste of baking soda and water and apply to the rash.
  • Make a lukewarm bath of epsom salts or oatmeal. This will help soothe the rash and provide some relief.
  • Try calamine lotion. This is a natural itch-reducing cream that you can spread over the rash to stop itching.
  • Don’t scratch! Wear mittens if you just can’t resist. Scratching can increase the risk of impetigo, a highly infection staph infection.
  • Cover the area with a clean, cool and wet washcloth to help soothe the irritation.
  • Try spraying a little apple cider vinegar on the rash to help alleviate the itching by reducing the allergic reaction.
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