Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Overview Symptoms Evaluation Treatment questions for doctor Home Care Prevention Outlook Underlying Cause

Clam Digger's Itch Underlying Cause

Swimmer's itch is caused by the larvae of a parasite, called a schistosome. A schistosome is a flat worm that lives in snails. Schistosomes live mainly in fresh water, but may be present in salt water. Larvae are immature offspring that are released into the water by these organisms. The parasites are more prominent in warm water.

These tiny organisms burrow into the skin and cause inflammation, which results in the rash. The rash usually occurs on areas of the skin that are covered by a swimsuit. The larvae die and the rash slowly improves with time, but may take several weeks.

Last Updated: Sep 28, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
Copyright DSHI Systems, Inc. Powered by: FreeMD - Your Virtual Doctor

PubMed Clam Digger's Itch References
  1. Verbrugge LM, Rainey JJ, Reimink RL, Blankespoor HD. Prospective study of swimmer's itch incidence and severity. J Parasitol. 2004 Aug;90(4):697-704. [15357056]
  2. Verbrugge LM, Rainey JJ, Reimink RL, Blankespoor HD. Swimmer's itch: incidence and risk factors. Am J Public Health. 2004 May;94(5):738-41. [15117691]
FreeMD is provided for information purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for evaluation and treatment by a physician. Please review our terms of use.