Swimmer's Itch

Had a swim in the River Cam the other morning and have what I think is Swimmer’s Itch. Lots of websites say certain antihistamines may help with the itching, but none say which antihistamine. Does anyone know which active ingredient I’m after, or will any old one help? I have two or three different types in the house, as my wife and son get really bad hayfever.

Ah yeah, the old swimmers’ itch Boab :wink:

Loratadine & Cetirizine are normally used for skin itching. Always read the label :upside_down_face:

i have spells were i itch like mad as a result of pool swimming !

have tried various methods of trying to stop this without any joy!

at the moment am itch free ,but sometimes i feel like i am infested lol

I find public pools much worse, as they have more chemicals in them; either that or they use cheaper chemicals than places like Nuffield. Less kids in private pools, so less germs too :grimacing:

Never had it before, don’t really want it again. Had to try quite hard not to claw the side of my head off at one point. I tried some Loratadine, that appeared to help. Although the source of all that is right and correct, states that Hydroxyzine is the antihistamine of choice. It also says that analogues of of hydroxyzine include buclizine, cetirizine, cinnarizine, cyclizine, etodroxizine, meclizine, and pipoxizine among others. So I might try cetirizine, if I get it again…

Do you know if moisturising after a swim helps?

I find having a proper shower, with a scrubber and your own shower gel/exfoliant massively helps.

Don’t use the gym provided stuff, and don’t just get out and dry yourself :nauseated_face:

Back on topic, yes there are snail parasites in the Cam and other weedy freshwater at the moment and the itch can be excruciating. I’ve been ok in my wetsuit the last couple of weeks although the one time I had it before was hands/face/feet whilst wearing a suit. Towelling vigorously afterwards dislodges them before they can burrow into your skin apparently.

Milton lake or Jesus Green lido might be a better bet at the moment.

I’m not convinced by the rough towelling advice. I’ve been badly affected a couple of times having followed that, both times wearing wetsuit but dozens of bites on wrists, ankles & neck. My understanding is that the parasites attach to you but pretty quickly drop off as they can’t survive on a human so if you’re swimming for an hour or so the damage is already done by the time you come out.
If you went for a very short dip to cool off then maybe you could catch them early enough but that’s not been my experience.

I did 8KM in Todd’s Pit on Friday, as I was there for a work event. Nicer than swimming in the Cam, but the paid for sessions are offy short. Plus, the Cam is free…

Evidently suncream is supposed to be a good barrier again the parasites, so might ty that next time I go in the river early doors. I’ve always fancied swimming along the backs, but been put off by all the punts, so might do that next.

Aye, I used to be a regular on Friday evenings at Milton, but like being able to pop into the Cam as and when. Riverbank club is my usual starting point, with lawns/benches for convenient changing and leaving stuff. The canoe club just further down is ok too, so long as you can stash your things safely. Hot weekends daytime is worst for p1ssed or otherwise incompetent punters. I’d be suspicious of water quality anywhere downstream of CC, always going upstream to/beyond Grantchester. Evening sun through the trees can be stunning, and usually quiet.

Avon skin so soft is supposed to provide a barrier too.

I wear a clearly visible cap and try to avoid fogging of the goggles, to be able to anticipate/avoid the boats. The swans can be a concern, ok at the moment but have been known to be aggressive - in a previous year I was chased out of the river once!

I always thought the Riverbank Club was just for Naturists, might have to look into joining. I’ve got one of those high vis pull buoy dry bag things, as I hate wearing a cap. Worked quite well the other day when a load of speedy canoeists came smashing it up the river…

Will look into the Skin So Soft, it’s supposed to be great for lots of things.

Quite a mixture at the Riverbank club, some triathletes and other swimmers, plus the skinny dippers who presumably avoid going anywhere near the weed and snails!

My goodness the itch. I suffer from it, usually in late winter and into springtime. Not sure if it’s swimming related or not. I get it in my legs. It’s so bad. I wake up scratching. I’ve got moisturiser and anti histamines by my bed. Tried all kinds of shower gels and exfoliating sponges etc but to no avail. I wonder is it temperature related - the cold of outside versus the heat of the indoors…

Swimmers itch comes from a bug that lives on snails that in turn live in the weed in open water. The bugs attach to you as you swim through the weed but can’t live on you so drop off, leaving a small bite behind that gets itchy, especially if you scratch the top off it.
If you haven’t been open water swimming recently it won’t be swimmer’s itch.

I honestly thought this was going to be about missing swimming :joy:


Haha. Same. Even with the start of the first sentence!

I open water swim once or twice a year…!

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