Water

Swimmer’s Itch – Diagnosis, Treatment and Prevention

Swimmer’s itch

is a form of skin rash which occurs due to several factors. These factors include the frequency of swimming during summer, migrating birds infected with the parasites and warm water temperature for the snails to grow and reproduce rapidly. Here is the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of swimmer’s itch.

Diagnosis of Swimmer’s Itch

Any form of specific diagnosis is a difficult task. Also, skin biopsies do not offer any help. No specific blood test is available to indicate whether cercaria has led to itching. One of the best way to confirm the cause of itching is to learn from people whether this condition occurs in the water body one swam or not. There are other diseases which are usually confused with this water-borne infection – herpes, poison ivy, chickenpox and impetigo (bacterial skin infection).

Treatment for Swimmer’s Itch

Most of the cases do not require any medical attention as it heals on its own. Although, if you have a skin rash, you can try a few steps for immediate relief:

  • Use anti-itch lotion, like Calamine lotion
  • Apply paste of baking soda to the skin rash
  • Use lotions like Aveeno or immerse in colloidal oatmeal baths
  • Bathe in baking soda or in Epson salts
  • Apply cool compresses on the affected regions
  • Apply corticosteroid cream

Though it may be difficult, but try not to scratch the affected regions. You may aggravate the infection by scratching. If the itching is persistent and severe, you can consult a doctor to seek medical help.

Prevention of Swimmer’s Itch

One of the major causes of this condition is migratory aquatic birds. Hence, the primary target to prevent the occurrence of the disease should be to minimize the infection rates in these birds. Even the other hosts like snail can be eradicated by using

chemical molluscicides

in some small lakes and ponds. Drugs can also be used for killing the swimmer’s itch parasites in the water bodies.

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