Understanding Swimmer’s Itch
What are the symptoms?
- Shortly after emerging from the water, bathers will notice a tingling sensation on exposed parts of the body
- Small red spots will appear on the skin, especially on all uncovered parts of the body which were exposed to water
- After a few hours, the reds spots will have enlarged and will itch like an insect bite
- The condition typically lasts for 4-5 days, but may persist
How can it be treated?
Your physician can recommend the best treatment for your child, but most commonly, parents are advised to:
- Avoid scratching, which may cause a more serious skin infection
- To relieve itching, rub a cream or calamine lotion onto affected areas
- Contact your health physician immediately if itching continues for more than a few days
How can swimmer’s itch be prevented?
You can reduce the chances of contracting swimmers' itch by:
- Staying away from beaches where swimmer’s itch has been reported, and avoiding areas where dense aquatic vegetation is found.
- Try and limit your swimming to shorter intervals of time
- When you leave the water, towel your child down vigorously, or take a quick shower to rinse off residual lake water
- Let other people know if your child has developed swimmer’s itch
Know the facts:
- Swimmer’s itch cannot be spread from one person to another
- There is no relation between swimmer’s itch and water pollution
- To know more, contact the nearest Info-Sante service in your region