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Remedies for swimmer’s itch

June 18th, 2018 | Posted by A. Jones in Being Prepared - (Comments Off on Remedies for swimmer’s itch)
swimmer’s itch

A swimmer’s itch is due to macroscopic parasites infecting mammals and birds. The parasites migrate from snails and spread to geese, ducks, gulls, swans, beavers and muskrats.

Remedies for swimmer’s itch

The rashes are characterized by a reddish pimples or blisters in the skin and usually develop in a few minutes or days after exposure to the parasites.

These infected birds spread the parasite into the water through their feces and eggs. When the parasite is exposed to the human skin, it burrows into the skin and results to rashes. The parasites cannot develop inside the human skin, later on they just die.

Symptoms of swimmer’s itch

  • The rashes are characterized by a reddish pimples or blisters in the skin and usually develop in a few minutes or days after exposure to the parasites.
  • It affects the exposed skin not covered by swimsuits, wet suits and waders
  • Tingling, burning or itching sensations can be felt.
  • Scratching of the affected area result to secondary infection.


  • Apply cold compress on the area. Put some ice cubes in a plastic bag and wrap it in a towel or a thin cloth before placing on the area to lessen the swelling and the pain.
  • Prescribed antihistamines or anti-itch creams to lessen the itchiness.
  • Prescribed medication to lessen the pain and discomforts.
  • Soak the affected areas of the body using Epsom salt and water mixture. Fill a bathtub with warm water and add a cup of Epsom salts. Mix them well until salt is totally dissolved. Soak the body in the mixture to lessen itchiness and relax the body. Baking soda can also be mixed with warm water is also good for the condition.
  • Make a paste by mixing baking soda with a few drops of water. Mix them until it becomes the consistency of a paste and apply it directly on the affected area to lessen the itchiness and other symptoms.
  • Wash the affected area using diluted apple cider vinegar.
  • Avoid wearing synthetic clothes while in the healing process to prevent further irritations on the skin and worsen the condition. Wear cotton clothes.


  • Avoid swimming or wading in contaminated waters especially marshy areas and plenty of snails.
  • Avoid swimming in the shoreline, go to deeper water and flowing water such as rivers to prevent development of swimmer’s itch.
  • Rinse properly exposed skin with clean water immediately after the swim. Dry the skin vigorously using a towel.
  • Wash swimsuits regularly especially after taking a swim.
  • Avoid feeding birds on docks or near swimming areas.
  • Apply waterproof sunscreen on exposed areas of the skin before taking a swim to prevent swimmer’s itch.
  • Maintain cleanliness and well chlorinated swimming pools.


Treatment for swimmer’s itch

October 18th, 2014 | Posted by A. Jones in Being Prepared - (Comments Off on Treatment for swimmer’s itch)

Cercarial dermatitis is another name for swimmer’s itch which is an allergic reaction that can happen on the surface of the skin. A parasite that thrives in ponds and lakes causes this kind of allergy. The snails that lives in the ponds and lakes ingests the parasite cercaria and releases it into the water and digs into the human skin and make it their next host, also birds can become host of this parasite. The human skin is not a suitable environment thus they quickly die and leave behind an irritating rash known as the swimmer’s itch.

Some irritation from the parasites starts to develop anytime within 12 hours after swimming. The skin will experience some tingle and itchiness and small-sized bumps starts to manifest in the affected areas. If the bumps occurred in the legs and arms, they will become swollen.

Shallow lake or ponds are the most common places where an individual can be infected by a parasite known as cercaria that causes a swimmer’s itch since it is where the infected snails live but any open body of water can still harbor these parasites. Swimmer’s itch is common during summer where some people love to swim in rivers or lakes. Clean and well-maintained swimming pools are the best and safe places to swim during summer. Water in the ponds and rivers can still stay infected until the parasites cannot anymore continue their life cycle and just dies out. Swimmer’s ear can heal on its own in a couple of days. If you want to learn more about the condition, read here.

Swimmer's itch

Wet or dampen a clean washcloth with cool water and spread the damp cloth over the itchy areas.

Treatment and home remedies

  • Apply calamine lotion over the affected areas
  • Take over-the-counter antihistamines in order to minimize swelling and itchiness.
  • Wet or dampen a clean washcloth with cool water and spread the damp cloth over the itchy areas.
  • Mix water and baking soda to make a paste then spread it over the affected areas using a tongue depressor in order to minimize the itchiness.
  • Soak in a lukewarm bath with a mixture of 1 to 2 cups of oatmeal or dissolve an Epsom salts in the bath to relax the body caused by the itchiness.

Prevention of swimmer’s itch

Avoid swimming in areas where it is infested by cercaria parasites usually in shallow lakes and ponds and the water is warm usually during the summer season. The most common host of the parasites includes birds such as ducks or geese thus avoid swimming in areas where these birds are present.

One option is killing the parasites found in small ponds and river by using chemicals such as copper sulphate or copper carbonate. Another way is placing a drug for the treatment of parasites into the food of birds. When the birds eat the food, the chemicals will kill the parasites inside their bodies.

Remove all vegetation around ponds and lakes since it is the ideal place for the parasites to grow and avoid attracting birds to areas where people usually go swimming.

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