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Swimmer's Itch
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Susan Evans, MD posted:
Swimmer's itch is called cercarial dermatitis, caused by an allergic reaction to microscopic parasites in bodies of water like lakes, ponds, and oceans. These parasites are found around the world, and are not located in isolated areas.

The symptoms of swimmer's itch include a prickly stinging feeling on the areas of the skin that were exposed to water; most often the torso is affected. This can into an itchy rash that looks like small red pimples or blisters. The itching will likely last about a week or so and will gradually go away.

Most people do not need medical attention for this condition as it is self-limiting, and usually does not evolve into a bigger problem. If the rash spreads, becomes infected, or lasts longer than about two weeks, it is certainly appropriate to see your medical care provider for an evaluation.

What you can do to help alleviate the itching is to use over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream, cool cloths, bathe with baking soda or Aveeno oatmeal baths, or use Calamine lotion.

While it IS difficult, try not to scratch as the rash could become infected. It is important to note that if you have developed swimmer's itch from exposure to water at a specific beach, you will likely have a similar reaction, possibly even stronger, each time you enter that body of water.

Best,
Dr. Evans
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