Did you know that swimmer’s itch and chiggers are not the same thing? In fact chiggers are found in tall grass and weeds and swimmer’s itch is found only in the water. There are certain types of water that you will want to stay away from to avoid getting swimmer’s itch.
Swimmer’s itch is parasites that multiplies in snails, are released and then look for their next host, which can be humans. When the parasite comes into contact with skin they burrow and cause an allergic reaction. One way that you can avoid swimmer’s itch is to avoid certain types of water. Try to stay out of shallow water, shorelines, marshy area, and anywhere snails are common since the parasite multiplies in snails. Calm freshwater lakes or ponds are also water to stray from. When you get out of the water shower right away or towel dry.
Not everyone in the water will get swimmer’s itch. About 30-40% of the population is sensitive to swimmer’s itch and the more you get swimmer’s itch the more severe the reaction can be. If you get swimmer’s itch, do not scratch and the reaction should clear up in a few days. Until then you can treat the symptoms. Some over the counter items to try are oral anti-histamines, anti-itch lotions, and corticosteroid creams. Other items to try at home are an oatmeal bath, baking soda paste, Epsom salts bath, or a cool compress.
-CDC Fact Sheet “Swimmer’s Itch” Reviewed Sept 3, 2008. Accessed at http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dpd/parasites/cercarialdermatitis/swimmers_itch_factsheet.pdf