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 of 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 come near 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 Swimmer's Itch! Use cream or other household remedies to relief itching.