How to Cure Swimmers Itch?
What is Swimmers Itch?
Swimmer’s itch is a skin rash and is a patchy red pinpoint, which’’ appears on the body after it has been in water. It is not severe and disappears after some time without any treatment. The itching starts within 48 hours and can last till about 7 days. Rarely, it is serious. It is also known as cercarial dermatitis. In developing countries, swimmer’s itch is referred to as “ rice paddy itch”, “clam diggers itch” and “sawah” to Malaysian rice farmers.
Cause of Swimmer’s Itch
Swimmer’s itch is due to trematode parasites of acquatic and migrating birds. The life cycle of such parasites concern snails as the initial host and acquatic birds or some other type of mammal as the final host. Amphibious, (which move both on water and land) or acquatic snails let out the larval parasite known as “ cercaria”. This causes dermatitis when it unexpectedly penetrates the skin rather than its rightful host, perhaps a duck. Swimmers’ itch occurs in marine coastal environments as well as freshwater.
Swimmers itch infection is also caused due to common grackles, ducks, geese, red-winged blackbirds, swans, muskrats and moles.
Treatment of Swimmer’s Itch
Cure for Swimmer’s itch may be necessary if there are only few itching spots. One can use a mild corticosteriod cream or an antihistaminic. In case, the initial itching is severe, scratching can lead to abrasions. This can cause skin infections. One should consult a dermatologist if the condition persists longer than three days. Prescribed medicines can also reduce the itching.
Home Remedies for Swimmer’s Itch
- One should wash the body with salt water, methyl alcohol, acetic acid (vinegar) or dilute household ammonia One can use Benadryl spray all over the body to reduce the pain and itch
- Towel dry as soon as the swimming is over
- Cold compresses can be used
- One can bathe with colloidal oatmeal or baking soda
- One can apply baking soda paste to the affected areas
- One can wash the affected areas with isopropyl alcohol and coat them with calamine lotion
One need not worry about swimmers itch. In case, it is mild, then treatment is not required. Only in severe cases, a physician has to be consulted. One need not to give up swimming. Only one should be careful.