Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Allergic to salt water?

I did a quick search for such a thing and came up relatively empty handed on facts and overloaded with anecdotes. The AOCD claims "swimmer's itch" is a result of a larval parasite that usually infects ducks. Or possibly, the larval form of the thimble jellyfish, sea anemone or Portuguese Man-of-War. Or just about anything else. Other sites claim it's a reaction to the sulfates in the water. Or hydras. Or seaweed.

Both my boys get bad rashes from something in ocean water. It seems coupled with a rubbing issue though with Nicholas it's skin-on-skin contact on his thighs and with Jonathon it's skin-on-suit contact near his knees. There's a large swath of red skin with tiny pinprick rash marks, unlike traditional "swimmer's itch" with distinct papules.

Whatever it is, it's frustrating. Our last day of playing at the beach Jonathon managed about 15 minutes in the water before declaring he hurt too much and would just play in the sand. Nicholas pushed through the pain but was really miserable every day as soon as he got wet with salt water.



  1. Having worked around water for a lot of my life (I am a pool manager for 3 more days before I head to DC to start my A-100 course) I have to ask the following questions:

    Does he react this way to swimming pools?
    have allergies?
    sensitive skin?
    dry skin?

    We just got back from the Oregon coast and one of my daughters had a similar issue where her suit rubbed her legs. Not as bad, but still.

    I would recommend that he take a bath and just soak, then use lotion to take care of the rash. We use Eucerine. Once the rash heals then have him use lotion before getting in the water and see if that helps. FYI-showers dry out skin fast so have him soak.

    It really sounds like a combination of dry skin and salt drying the skin out more.

    Hope some of that helps.

  2. Thanks. He doesn't get the same reaction from pools, he does summer swim team and there's no issue. He has no allergies or dry skin, and doesn't have sensitive skin reactions to soaps or cleaners like I do.

    Washing off the sea water seems like the best recommendation I can find all around, but it makes going in the ocean at all still difficult. I guess when we visit the Dead Sea we'll find out if it's salt or something else!

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