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Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
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Swimmer’s itch, also called cercarial dermatitis (sir-CARE-ee-uhl der-muh-TIGHT-iss), appears as a skin rash caused by an allergic reaction to certain parasites that infect some birds and mammals. These microscopic parasites are released from infected snails into fresh and salt water (such as lakes, ponds, and oceans.) While the parasite’s preferred host is the specific bird or mammal, if the parasite comes into contact with a simmer, it burrows into the skin causing and allergic reaction and rash.
Swimmer’s itch is found throughout the world and is more frequent during summer months.
Within minutes to days after swimming in contaminated water, you may experience tingling, burning, or itching of the skin. Small reddish pimples appear within twelve hours. Pimples may develop into small blisters. Scratching the areas may result in secondary bacterial infections. Itching may last up to a week or more but will gradually go away.
Most cases of swimmer’s itch do not require medical attention. If you have a rash, you may try the following for relief: