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Bites and Infestations

Picture of Swimmer's Itch

Picture of Swimmer's Itch

Swimmer's itch, or cercarial dermatitis, is a type of acute dermatitis that occurs as the result of skin infestation by parasitic larvae acquired from swimming in fresh or salt water. The parasites are harbored by certain birds, mammals, and snails. While the larvae can infect humans, leading to skin irritation, humans are not suitable hosts for the adult parasites. The rash resulting from swimmer's itch can be extremely itchy. Treatment may consist of topical agents to decrease itching and antibiotics if a secondary bacterial infection occurs due to skin breakage from scratching.

Source: Color Atlas of Pediatric Dermatology Samuel Weinberg, Neil S. Prose, Leonard Kristal Copyright 2008, 1998, 1990, 1975, by the McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

Text Reference: "Cercarial Dermatitis." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.