Cercarial Dermatitis - Swimmer's Itch


Swimmer’s Itch is a rash that often occurs after swimming in the outdoors. It is more common in fresh water lakes and ponds and less commonly occurs from salt water.

Found in wild birds and other animals as well as in the water where these animals may be found.

This is caused by an allergic reaction to parasites that live in the water and in animals in that area. Fortunately, these parasites soon die while in your skin and recovery is quick. The parasites can be found in ducks, geese, beavers, gulls, and muskrats. The eggs of this parasite can enter the water and contamination can also occur through the feces of animals infected.

The rash will look similar to blisters or small pimples. The rash can be seen almost immediately after exposer has occurred.  Skin that is uncovered by clothes or swimwear is the areas where the rash occurs.  Fortunately, Swimmer’s Itch is not contagious.

The rash will clear within a few days and over the counter medications to help with itching can bring relief. If the rash lasts more than one week, or if areas start to pus, seek medical attention.

Symptoms of Swimmer’s Itch will worsen every time you become re-infected so be mindful and careful where you choose to swim. If Swimmer’s Itch is common, avoid outdoor swimming. Deeper water is less likely to be contaminated with the parasites. Rinse and clean your skin right after swimming and do not encourage animals to the area.

It is always safe to avoid contact with wild animals as well as their feces.  Avoid feeding animals and preventing them to come near the water or general area.
Other Facts

Don’t scratch! Use cream or other household remedies to relief itching.