Swimmer’s itch, also known as cercarial dermatitis, develops from exposure to water inhabited by ducks or snails. Parasites, known as cercaria, which usually live on the body of ducks or freshwater snails, penetrate the human skin, causing itchy rashes.
Swimmer’s itch causes
The itchy rashes appear because of allergic reaction, when the human skin is exposed to the parasites. Incidence of swimmer’s itch is greater during summer, when the warm water is suitable for the parasites to develop on the bodies of the freshwater snails and ducks. Often migratory birds are sources of these parasites.
The longer you spend in the shallow water, during the warm season, more is the risk of developing swimmer’s itch. Moreover, people who do not dry themselves properly after swimming, could easily develop swimmer’s itch.
Swimmer’s itch symptoms
Swimmer’s itch appears as red, raised rash with intense itching. It may develop one to two hours after swimming. Sometimes the itchy rash develops two days after exposure to water infested with the parasites. Often rash might not appear in people affected by swimmer’s itch, although they might experience severe itching.
The rash and itching occurs only on the parts of the body exposed to water. However, staying in wet swimsuit for a long time might make the parts of the body covered by the swimsuit susceptible to swimmer’s itch.
Swimmer’s itch home remedies
Swimmer’s itch rash usually heals naturally within 4 to 7 days. Until the rash heals, you should avoid scratching the rash. Make a paste with baking soda and water and apply it on the rash to reduce the itching. To reduce the irritation, soak in a bath to which Epsom salt has been added. To reduce the itching, you can wash the rash with diluted vinegar.
Washing the rash with saline water can help to prevent the irritation. Make a solution by mixing one teaspoon of tea tree oil with ten teaspoons of olive oil. To reduce the itching and irritation, apply this tea tree oil mixture on the rash four to five times a day. You can also apply calamine lotion to sooth the irritation.