How to avoid Swimmer’s Itch: What to Know

Young man swimming in a lake

Choosing between enjoying the peacefulness of a freshwater swim and avoiding the itchy inconvenience of Swimmer’s itch can be difficult. As we weigh out the pros and cons of freshwater, it is interesting to take a look at this hurdle in our aquatic adventures—Swimmer’s itch.

Swimmer’s Itch a.k.a. Cercarial dermatitis

Swimmer’s itch, or cercarial dermatitis, is a skin condition that occurs after direct contact with certain microscopic parasites that live in freshwater. These parasites usually live in birds and snails but can burrow into human skin, causing an allergic reaction that manifests as a persistent itch. Fortunately, the human skin is not a favorable environment and as such, the parasite soon dies, leaving behind an itchy souvenir of their brief visit.

Swimmer’s Itch Signs and Symptoms

Man scratching the red patches on his leg

Although we cannot see these microscopic parasites, they might cause you to experience symptoms. These can range from a tingling sensation under your skin, and itching, to the emergence of small reddish rashes or blisters. The timing of the appearance of these symptoms can be as quick as a few minutes after exposure to contaminated water or could take 2 days to show up. However, this condition is not considered dangerous, and symptoms usually cease within 1-2 weeks.

See related: How to treat eczema flare-ups symptoms

Conquering the Itch

Lavender and essential oil on a small bottle, a purple wax of a candle, and two flat stones stacked

Although it is an allergic reaction, there is no formal treatment for swimmer’s itch. However, if you’re looking for symptomatic relief, you can use baking soda, anti-itch lotions or creams, cool compresses, and essential oils as remedies.

See related: Can you get Lyme disease from a mosquito?

Keep Swimmer’s itch at bay

A man swimming in a lake surrounded by mountains

The best way to avoid Swimmer’s itch is not to swim or wade in water where there are snails or where birds live or wade. Another vital attribute of prevention is to not swim in areas that are known for Swimmer’s itch. Staying dry as quickly as possible after exiting the water can also play its part. It is also an important strategy to keep bird activity to a minimum near swimming areas.

See related: Types of bug bites on skin & how essential oils can help

Enjoy the waters with awareness

CANhaveTODAY Skin Care Inc. products

Swimmer’s itch, although not perceived as a harmful condition, is undeniably an unwelcome guest in our aquatic recreation. An understanding of Swimmer’s itch can equip us to recognize and give it symptomatic relief promptly to minimize the disruption in our swimming adventures. Most importantly, implementing strategies to avoid contracting the rash in the first place will ensure we can continue to enjoy our aquatic exploits undisturbed.

Stay educated and aware and enjoy the water! And remember, an understanding of this condition can only give you the power to manage any potential impact. In this article, we also mentioned that CANhaveTODAY’s Waters Mist, Soothing Juggernaut, and Healing Legends can potentially help with the persistent itch of Swimmer’s itch. When exploring the depths of various bodies of water, go armed with awareness.


What is Swimmer’s Itch?

Swimmer’s Itch, also known as cercarial dermatitis, is a skin rash that occurs after exposure to microscopic parasites typically found in fresh and less frequently saltwater. These parasites usually infect birds and snails that live in freshwater, but they can burrow into human skin and cause an allergic reaction, manifesting as skin rash.

What are the symptoms to look out for in Swimmer’s itch?

If you experience an itching sensation, a tingling under your skin, small reddish pimples or blisters post-swim, you likely have Swimmer’s itch. These symptoms could pop up on the areas of your skin exposed to the infested waters from a few minute to 48 hours after getting out of the water.

How can Swimmer’s itch be treated?

There is no formal treatment for Swimmer’s itch and most symptoms are short-lived and disappear on their own. However, for the relief of itch, you can use soothing salves, creams, or lotions.

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