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Top 5 Swimming Injuries

Top 5 Swimming Injuries

This guide looks to explain the most common swimmer's injuries and how to treat & prevent them.


What is Swimmer's Itch?

Cercarial dermatitis or 'Swimmer's Itch' is a skin rash caused by an allergic reaction to the infection which is carried by certain parasites on birds and mammals. These microscopic parasites are released from infected snails, ducks or swans that swim in fresh and salt water, such as lakes, ponds, and oceans.

Swimmer's Itch is more common in the warmer summer months when the parasites might burrow into your skin, where they cause the rash. However humans are not a suitable host for them, so the parasites soon die while still in your skin. Although uncomfortable, swimmers itch is usually short-lived. The rash typically clears up on its own within a few days.

The symptoms for Swimmer's Itch are:

  • Itchy skin.
  • A rash of small reddish pimples that usually appears 12 hours after swimming in fresh or salt water.
  • These spots can sometimes develop into small blisters.

Interesting Fact: Swimmer's Itch cannot be spread from person to person.

What can you do to prevent Swimmer's Itch?

The most obvious way to prevent Swimmer's Itch is to stick to the pool, but if you intend to swim in lakes etc, then it's worth bearing in mind that Swimmers Itch only affects exposed skin. This means areas which are not covered by swimwear or wet suits are at risk. Using compression wear for full body coverage is an option you may like to consider. The PhysioRoom.com Compression Shorts, McDavid hDc Cold Wear Thermal Pants or the McDavid hDc Cold Wear Long Sleeve Shirt not only help retain body heat and keep muscles more supple but they would counteract any parasite attack.

What should you do if you suffer from Swimmer's Itch?

Diagnosing Swimmer's Itch can be difficult, because the rash can look very similar to other skin problems, such as chickenpox, dermatitis, impetigo or even herpes. There are no specific tests to diagnose Swimmer's Itch so be sure to tell the doctor if your symptoms appeared after swimming.

The rash may appear up to 48 hours after swimming, but you may also experience itching without ever developing a rash.

The symptoms of Swimmer's Itch should only last a few days and you can control itching with over-the-counter or prescription medications.

Secondary exposure can cause the rash to become more severe and if the rash lasts more than one week or the site develops 'pus' you are advised to contact your doctor.