Sea bather's eruption

Sea bather's eruption

Kevin St. Clair

Author Bio -

 Key Points
*Skin condition which affects areas of the body covered by bathing suits after swimming in the ocean
*Caused by stings from larval forms of certain sea creatures
*Consists of a rash of red bumps, which may coalesce into larger areas, and is accompanied by itching and preceded by tingling in the affected area

Sea bather's eruption is a skin condition which affects areas of the body covered by bathing suits after swimming in sea water. The condition initially presents as a tingling sensation in the affected area, which develops into itching. This may be accompanied by mild fever and fatigue, and nausea in some cases. Contact with fresh water can worsen itching, as can friction due to toweling off or wearing bathing suits for a prolonged period after swimming. After a few hours out of the water, a rash of red bumps develops. Lesions may coalesce into larger areas.

Sea bather's eruption is caused by contact with the stinging cells of larval forms of certain sea anemones and jellyfish, which become trapped within the clothing during swimming. The condition is more likely to develop during activity close to the water?s surface. The reaction itself is an allergic one, due to the toxins injected from stinging cells.

Differential Diagnosis (Other conditions with similar appearance)
Chickenpox
Jellyfish stings
Contact Dermatitis, Allergic
Lymphomatoid papulosis
Eosinophilic Pustular Folliculitis
Papular Urticaria
Folliculitis

Diagnosis
Key Points
*Diagnosis based on the characteristic appearance of the affected area in conjunction with clinical examination
*Other testing is not typically required

Sea bather's eruption is typically diagnosed based on the characteristic appearance of the affected area in conjunction with clinical examination. Other testing is not typically required.

Treatment
*Primary goal of treatment is to eliminate toxins left on the skin and to relieve symptoms
*The condition is moderate in effect and self-resolving
*Severe cases may require prescription medications
OTC Options: diluted vinegar, calamine lotion, hydrocortisone, antihistamines, NSAIDs

The primary goal in treating Sea bather's eruption is the elimination of toxins left on the skin and the relief of symptoms. Once the affected person has bathed, a diluted vinegar application or rubbing alcohol can be used to destroy any remaining toxins. Additionally, hydrocortisone creams, calamine lotion and NSAIDs such as ibuprofen or aspiring may be used to relieve pain and itching associated with the condition. Antihistamines may also be helpful in relieving itching. In severe cases, oral steroids such as Prednisone may be prescribed.

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