What Is a Quick Cure for Swimmer's Itch?


Quick Answer

While most cases of swimmer's itch clear up naturally in several days, over-the-counter antihistamines and anti-itch creams can alleviate symptoms sooner, says Mayo Clinic. Swimmer's itch, also known as cercarial dermatitis, is a condition that causes rashes on the skin.

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Covering the infected area with a clean, wet washcloth and soaking in a bath containing Epsom salts, baking soda or oatmeal are other treatments that soothe the skin, reports Mayo Clinic. Applying a paste made of baking soda and water may also lessen symptoms. A patient should never scratch at the rash as this may cause infection.

Swimming outdoors in freshwater lakes and ponds is often the cause of swimmer's itch, although it sometimes occurs after swimming in salt water, explains Mayo Clinic. The itchy rash that looks like reddish pimples or blisters may appear within minutes or days after swimming in infested water. These symptoms occur due to a microscopic parasite that burrows into the skin. With each exposure to the parasite, symptoms often worsen. Typically only skin not covered by a swimsuit is affected by the parasite. Children have the highest risk of getting the infection, as they are less likely to dry off with a towel after swimming in infested waters. Animals, such as waterfowl, are the normal host of the parasite.

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