Self-management

Lifestyle and home remedies

These tips might help reduce the itch:

  • Apply a cream or medication.
  • Don't scratch.
  • Cover affected areas with a clean, wet washcloth.
  • Soak in a bath sprinkled with Epsom salts, baking soda or oatmeal.
  • Make a paste of baking soda and water, and then apply it to the affected areas.

Prevention

The parasites that cause swimmer's itch live in the blood of waterfowl and in animals that live near ponds and lakes. To reduce the risk of swimmer's itch:

  • Choose swimming spots carefully. Avoid swimming in areas where swimmer's itch is a known problem or signs warn of possible contamination. Also avoid swimming or wading in marshy areas where snails are commonly found.
  • Avoid the shoreline, if possible. If you're a strong swimmer, head to deeper water for your swim. You may be more likely to develop swimmer's itch if you spend a lot of time in warmer water near the shore.
  • Rinse after swimming. Rinse exposed skin with clean water immediately after leaving the water, then vigorously dry your skin with a towel. Launder your swimsuits often.
  • Skip the bread crumbs. Don't feed birds on docks or near swimming areas.
  • Apply waterproof sunscreen. This has been reported to protect the skin from the parasite that causes swimmer's itch.
Dec. 02, 2016
References
  1. Parasites: Cercarial dermatitis (also known as swimmer's itch). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/swimmersitch/faqs.html. Accessed Oct. 11, 2016.
  2. Auerbach PS, et al. Aquatic skin disorders. In: Wilderness Medicine. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2012. http://www.clincalkey.com. Accessed Oct. 11, 2016.