The cool allure of a pool or lake can be irresistibly inviting, especially during this insufferable summer heat. However, amidst all the water fun, certain skin irritations such as chlorine rash and swimmers’ itch can appear. Recognizing these common ailments can help you take quick action to alleviate the discomfort and get back to the festivities.
Chlorine, a chemical often used to disinfect pools, can cause an allergic reaction or irritate the skin due to its drying effect. This reaction, known as chlorine rash, is typically characterized by the following symptoms:
1. Red, itchy skin
The most common sign of a chlorine rash is red, irritated skin that may feel itchy or burned. It typically starts a few hours after exposure.
2. Dry, scaly, or cracked skin
Chronic exposure to chlorine can lead to excessively dry skin that may scale or crack.
3. Bumps or hives
In more severe cases, you may develop small, itchy bumps or hives.
Parts of the skin exposed to chlorine may also swell.
Swimmer’s itch, or cercarial dermatitis, is a skin rash caused by an allergic reaction to certain microscopic parasites that infest freshwater lakes and ponds. Unlike chlorine rash, swimmers’ itch is contracted in natural bodies of water. Here are its key symptoms:
1. Itchy skin
The skin may become incredibly itchy within minutes to hours after swimming in infested water.
2. Small red pimples
Initially, small red pimples may appear on the skin.
Within a day or two, these pimples may turn into blisters.
4. Bare skin only
Swimmer’s itch is generally found on exposed skin that has come into direct contact with the water, and it rarely affects the areas covered by swimsuits.
Treating Chlorine Rash and Swimmers Itch
If you develop either of these conditions, over-the-counter treatments like hydrocortisone creams, antihistamines, and calamine lotion can help alleviate symptoms. In severe cases, or if symptoms persist, it’s recommended to see a qualified healthcare provider. If you’re in Tampa Bay, the expert team at Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Associates of Tampa Bay is ready to help you with both of these conditions.
To prevent chlorine rash, shower before and immediately after swimming, apply a pre-swimming lotion designed to protect the skin from chlorine, and moisturize thoroughly after your swim.
For preventing swimmer’s itch, avoid swimming in areas known to be infested with parasites, towel dry or shower immediately after leaving the water, and don’t attract birds (the hosts of these parasites) to swimming areas by feeding them.
Swim This Summer Without Fear!
Swimming is an incredibly enjoyable activity that’s excellent for your health. Don’t let the potential of chlorine rash or swimmer’s itch deter you. With the right preventive measures and treatment, you can enjoy your time in the water while keeping your skin healthy and happy. For more information, or if you have been affected by chlorine rash or swimmer’s itch, contact Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Associates of Tampa Bay today for expert care and advice.