Swimmer’s Itch
Swimmer's Itch is caused by larvae known as "sea lice" that dig into the skin and then die. The resulting acne-like rash, pictured above, is very itchy and can cover the entire body. The rash generally lasts from one week to ten days. There are no long-term effects.

Seabather's Eruption
Seabather's Eruption normally follows the lines of a swimmer's bathing suit and is caused by anemone and jellyfish larvae. A stinging sensation or itchiness from their stings can begin almost immediately after leaving the water. Unfortunately, itching can last up to fourteen days. Like swimmer's itch, there are no long-term effects.


  • Wash out your swimsuit or any other clothing worn in the water with soap and freshwater (not seawater).
  • Apply over the counter (OTC) anti-itch creams such as hydrocortisone to affected areas to avoid scratching, which could cause scarring.
  • Take OTC anti-allergy medicines (antihistamines), such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl®), to relieve symptoms.


Call NC Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222 or chat from this site for further treatment advice.