Swimmer’s Itch and Hot Tub Folliculitis

Summer fun is all about swimming in a lake or hitting some water slides making happy family memories. However, there are two common itchy skin rashes which can develop after these activities we should be familiar with.

Swimmer’s itch, also known as cercarial dermatitis, is a rash which occurs after swimming or wading in lakes, ponds, or brackish water infected with microscopic parasites. As the name suggests, the rash is quite itchy and appears as small red bumps or pimples on the skin which was exposed to the water. The parasites get into the water through infected snails. Once in the water, the parasites look for another host such as an aquatic bird. If the parasite mistakenly burrows into a swimmer’s skin instead of the rightful hosts, it causes a rash. Treatment is symptomatic and includes taking over the counter antihistamines and using topical corticosteroids to relieve the itching. The rash and itching usually resolve in under two weeks. Hot tub folliculitis is a skin infection of the hair follicles that appears after coming into contact with bacteria-infected water. The bacteria causing the rash is Pseudomonas Aeruginosa which can live in wet, warm areas such as hot tubs and water slides. The rash begins as an eruption of itchy red bumps which often develop into whiteheads. Hot tub folliculitis usually resolves in 5-10 days without treatment. Oral antibiotics may be used to treat more severe cases. Please feel free to contact Advanced Dermatology if you are experiencing any of these discomforts to discuss treatment options.