PreventionBy Mayo Clinic staff
To reduce the risk of swimmer's itch:
- Choose swimming spots carefully. Avoid swimming in areas where swimmer's itch is a known problem or signs warn of possible contamination. Also avoid swimming or wading in marshy areas where snails are commonly found.
- Avoid the shoreline, if possible. If you're a strong swimmer, head to deeper water for your swim because you may be more likely to develop swimmer's itch if you spend a lot of time in shallow water.
- Rinse after swimming. Rinse exposed skin with fresh water immediately after leaving the water, then vigorously dry your skin with a towel. Launder your swimsuits often. You might even alternate wearing different swimsuits.
- Skip the bread crumbs. Don't feed birds on docks or near swimming areas.
- Take care of your pool. If you have a pool, keep it well maintained and chlorinated.
There's no evidence that applying sunscreen, lotions or creams helps prevent swimmer's itch.
- Wilson ME, et al. Helminthic infections. In: Wolff K, et al. Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in General Medicine. 7th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2008. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=3000222&searchStr=schistosomiasis%2c+cutaneous#3000222. Accessed Nov. 10, 2010.
- Wolff K, et al. Arthropod bites, stings and cutaneous infections. In: Wolff K, et al. Fitzpatrick's Color Atlas and Synopsis of Clinical Dermatology. 6th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2009. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=5197009&searchStr=schistosomiasis%2c+cutaneous#5197009. Accessed Nov. 10, 2010.
- Swimmer's itch (cercarial dermatitis). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dpd/parasites/cercarialdermatitis/factsht_cercarialdermatitis.htm. Accessed Nov. 10, 2010.
- Swimmer's itch. American Osteopathic College of Dermatology. http://www.aocd.org/skin/dermatologic_diseases/swimmers_itch.html. Accessed Nov. 10, 2010.