Swimmer’s itch (also known as cercarial dermatitis) is an allergic reaction to larvae that is present in a body of water. Young children are more susceptible to swimmer’s itch because the larvae are found in the shallow water where young children tend to play.
After swimming in natural body of water such as a lake or pond in which the larvae is present, a child may develop red pimple-like spots that burn and itch. The spots could eventually turn into blisters. The larvae become a tiny parasitic worm that burrows into the skin and dies. The parasite lives in birds. Although the larvae will cause a rash, the parasite cannot remain alive in humans.
The rash will usually clear up in about a week and is not contagious. There is not really much that can be done to treat the rash other than using remedies that soothe itchy skin such as baths with colloidal oatmeal, baking soda, or Epsom salts. Calamine lotion will also soothe the itching.
Although it is not necessary to take your child to the doctor for swimmer’s itch, you may want to have the doctor confirm your suspicions that it is indeed swimmer’s itch. They may also prescribe an antihistamine that will reduce the itching. Naturally, if you see any signs of infection (fever, discharge, pus, or red streaks), take your child to the doctor.



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