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Wilderness: Seaweed Irritation (cont.)


Seaweed Irritation Treatment

  • Scrub the irritated skin area with soap and water and flush it extensively with fresh water. Rinse with isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol).
  • Hydrocortisone cream may be applied 2 to 3 times daily to relieve itching. Immediately discontinue if any signs of infection appear such as increased redness, drainage (pus), or fever.
  • Allergic reactions, such as itching or rash, should be treated in adults with diphenhydramine (Benadryl) 50 mg every 6 hours and ranitidine (Zantac) 150 mg tablet every 12 hours. Some patients may require oral steroids. Consult with a physician for treatment in children.
  • If the affected skin area shows any evidence of infection, such as redness with pus, pain, foul odor, increased warm to the area, or fever, then antibiotics are usually recommended. Patients should consult with a physician or health care professional for further evaluation if there are any signs of infection. Some antibiotics can cause an increased sensitivity to the sun, so use a sunscreen (at least SPF 15) and avoid direct sunlight if possible.

When to Seek Medical Care

Consult a doctor if any signs of infection or if any symptoms other than a local reaction (redness or itching) occurs on the skin.

Medically reviewed by Martin E. Zipser, MD; American Board of Surgery

REFERENCE: Seaweed Dermatitis.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/23/2015
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