White bumps after swimming.

Patient

Q: After I swim in the ocean I get these small bumps on my face and arms. They are white and they itch a lot. They will last for around 6 days, but they gradually are reduced in size.

Doctor

A:   The rash you are experiencing may be due to cercarial dermatitis also known as a swimmer's itch. This is caused by an allergic reaction to bacteria and parasites in the water. The symptoms include development of small reddish pimples that are associated with itching and burning sensation. Pimples may develop into small blisters. Itching may last up to a week or more, but will gradually go away. Do not scratch the bumps as it may lead to bacterial infection. In most cases the symptoms are relieved by corticosteroid cream, calamine lotion or any over the counter anti-itch lotion.

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