Itchy Skin From Swimming
You might be used to getting water up your nose or wrinkly skin on your toes when you swim, but you can also suffer from itchy skin. Itchy skin from swimming can have more than one cause. It can also come from either swimming in a pool or romping in the ocean, lake or other natural body of water. In most cases you can treat your itch without a trip to the doctor.
Swimming pools can cause itchy skin by drying it. Long bouts of swimming, especially in pools that have a lot of chlorine, can break down your skin's natural moisture barriers. You skin can itch as well as feel tight, dry and bumpy.
Swimming in lakes, rivers, oceans and natural bodies of water can lead to itchy skin from a parasite. The parasites that causes cercarial dermatitis, or swimmer's itch, come from infected water fowl and certain mammals, which pass along the parasite eggs through their feces. If the eggs end up in water, larvae hatch from the eggs and seek out a specific type of snail, where they further develop.
The developed larvae leave the snail to find a animal host. Although humans are not suitable hosts for the parasite, it can still burrow into your skin. This usually causes an itchy rash that can be accompanied by small blisters or pimples, or a tingling and burning sensation.
Scratching your itchy skin will only make it worse, regardless of the cause. Use an anti-itch cream if you must. For dry skin caused by pool chlorine, heavy moisturizer can help, as can avoiding harsh soaps, fabrics and detergents.
For itchy skin caused by parasites, corticosteroid creams, cool compresses and applying a paste made with baking soda and water can help. Cool baths with Epsom salts, baking soda or colloidal oatmeal added to the water can also soothe your itchy skin. If your skin continues to itch after several days, cracks or forms scales, contact your doctor.
Preventing itchy skin after swimming can take several forms. Cut down on your time in the pool, and keep your skin moisturized with lotions, short showers and baths in warm rather than hot water. Also use a humidifier in your home to keep you skin moist.
You can't always know when a body of natural water is infected with parasites, but you can lessen your chance of encountering them if you steer clear of swimming near marshy areas where potentially infected snails can live. Thoroughly drying off and showering after your swim can also help.
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