Itch -schistosomes (Shiss-toe-soams)
itch is an unpleasant, itchy rash caused by small worm-like parasites,
called schistosomes (Shiss-toe-soams). These little worms are found
in many lakes and ponds, usually in the warm summer months when
beaches are most heavily used. Schistosomes have a complicated life
cycle. They spend part of their life as parasites in the bodies
of water snails, and part of their life living in the blood stream
of aquatic mammals, ducks or other waterfowl.
person gets Swimmers' Itch when larval parasites (flatworms) penetrate
into the skin of sensitive individuals and die, causing an allergic
reaction. Human penetration by the parasite is accidental, as
the flatworm ordinarily penetrates a bird to complete its life
Reddened spots, called papules, form on the body within hours after exposure
and will itch intensely for several days before subsiding. After
approximately 1 week, the symptoms usually disappear. In severe
cases, a person can develop a fever, become nauseated and spend
several sleepless nights.
drugs are available to reduce the effects of Swimmers' Itch.
can be used to help relieve the itching while topical steroid
creams may help to reduce the swelling. Before taking any of these
drugs, however, consult your physician or dermatologist for advice.
There are a number of steps you can take which may reduce some
of the itchiness. Your doctor or pharmacist can recommend the
recommended treatments are:
Avoid scratching. Apply anti-itch lotion (i.e. Calamine lotion,
Eurax cream, Caladryl cream). Take antihistamines (especially
at bedtime). Take shallow (3 inch) lukewarm baths with 3 tablespoons
of Baking Soda in the water, Apply cool compresses.