Swimmer's Itch Treatment in Portsmouth, NH
For many, swimming induces a freeing sensation when submerging oneself in the water. But swimming can sometimes come at a cost—when you swim, for instance, in questionable bodies of water within which parasites reside, a certain kind of dermatitis known as swimmer's itch (or formally, cercarial dermatitis) may turn a lovely afternoon swim into an ordeal.
In cases of swimmer's itch, as you swim or wade in infested waters, parasites burrow into your skin, causing an allergic reaction that results in an itchy rash. Swimmer's itch doesn't pose a serious health threat; humans are not suitable hosts for the parasites involved, meaning that, upon burrow into your skin, these parasites soon die. Swimmer's itch, however, is uncomfortable but usually clears up on its own within days.
If you develop a rash, it is always important to report it to your healthcare provider, who can determine if the cause is swimmer's itch or if a more severe underlying health concern is at play. To schedule a consultation with a qualified healthcare provider in Portsmouth that specializes in swimmer's itch treatment, call (603) 610-8882 or contact Dr. Johanna Mauss online.
Swimmer's Itch Cause
The known swimmer's itch cause is a type of parasite that lives in the blood of waterfowl and animals that live near ponds and lakes, such as geese, ducks, gulls, beavers and muskrats. A parasite infects these animals, producing eggs that are passed in the feces of the infected animals and which hatch in the water to release free-swimming larvae. The larvae search for a host, sometimes infecting humans as a result.
Swimmer's Itch Symptoms
An itchy rash is the telltale sign of swimmer's itch and typically appears as reddish pimples or blisters. This may present within minutes, or it may take days after swimming or wading in infested waters. Too, swimmer's itch will typically only affect exposed skin (in other words, skin that is protected by swimsuits or wet suits is not usually affected).
Swimmer's Itch Treatment
A common thought entering the mind of the swimmer's itch-afflicted victim is whether there are any specific strategies behind how to get rid of swimmer's itch. While swimmer's itch typically goes away on its own within days, your healthcare provider can assist you in controlling your symptoms.
Your healthcare provider will start by confirming a swimmer's itch diagnosis, as the condition can resemble other skin problems, such as poison ivy. Swimmer's itch treatment will focus on managing the itching associated with the condition. Over-the-counter antihistamines or anti-itch creams (such as those that contain calamine) may be recommended by your healthcare provider, while for more severe cases of itching your healthcare provider may recommend a prescription medication. Additionally, soaking in a bath with Epsom salts, baking soda or oatmeal may help soothe your itchiness.
While complications are atypical, excessive scratching could lead to an infection. Your healthcare provider may recommend antibiotics should an infection occur.
How to Prevent Swimmer's Itch
The best way to approach the possibility of swimmer's itch is to prevent its occurrence in the first place. Strategies to prevent swimmer's itch include:
- Choosing where you swim carefully, avoiding areas where swimmer’s itch is a known problem of where signs warn of possible contamination.
- Rinsing after swimming and then vigorously drying your skin afterwards.
- Applying sunscreen, which has been reported to protect the skin from parasites involved in swimmer’s itch.
If you find yourself the victim of swimmer's itch, promptly schedule an appointment with a healthcare provider who can help you manage your symptoms. Contact a qualified healthcare provider in Portsmouth that specializes in swimmer's itch treatment today. Call (603) 610-8882 or contact Dr. Johanna Mauss online.
Vibrant Health Natropathic Medical Center
Address501 Islington Street
Portsmouth, NH 03801
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Tue: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Wed: 10:30 am - 5:00 pm
Thu: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Fri: 10:00 am - 4:00 pm