Seabather's Eruption Treatment & Management

Updated: Aug 07, 2019
  • Author: Clarence William Brown, Jr, MD, FAAD; Chief Editor: William D James, MD  more...
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Treatment

Medical Care

Patients with seabather's eruption require only symptomatic or supportive therapy. Children more commonly demonstrate systemic symptoms, including fever, nausea, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. [10] These symptoms may be mistaken for viral gastritis, possibly leading the patient to seek treatment in the emergency department.

Use of topical corticosteroids in combination with antihistamines has yielded variable results. Systemic corticosteroids are generally reserved for patients demonstrating severe symptoms. Many anecdotes regarding the effectiveness of alternative remedies made with vinegar, rubbing alcohol, sodium bicarbonate, sugar, urine, olive oil, and meat tenderizer have been reported.

Patients rarely demonstrate associated systemic symptomatology severe enough to require hospitalization. Even then, treatment is largely supportive and should include systemic corticosteroids.

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Surgical Care

No surgical care is necessary to manage seabather's eruption.

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Consultations

A dermatologist can help narrow the differential diagnosis in difficult cases and facilitate a skin biopsy with histologic study.

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Diet

Diet is unrelated to seabather's eruption.

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Activity

Limitations on patients with seabather's eruption are unnecessary unless associated systemic symptoms are severe. However, Kumar et al [5] have shown that the risk of developing seabather's eruption in patients exposed to high seasonal concentrations of larvae while swimming in saltwater is significantly reduced if bathers shower with the bathing suit off, regardless of the length of time in the water or the timing of showers.

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Prevention

Showering with the bathing suit off is the only significant protective measure against seabather's eruption. Length of shower time; timing of the shower; bathing suit style; shower water temperature; towel drying upon emerging from the seawater; and application of ointment, creams, or lotions have no preventative effect.

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