These lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer give people the chance to engage in outdoor activities that are off-limits when the weather turns cold. Chief among these, of course, is swimming, and that’s why lakes and rivers are packed with people during the summer months. Of course, engaging in swimming is not totally without risks, and in some cases it can potentially cause a bit of a penis health situation. For example, diving into those cool lake waters may be refreshing, but sometimes a guy can come out with a penis rash that is often known, fittingly, as swimmer’s itch.
Medically classified as cercarial dermatitis, swimmer’s itch is by no means limited to a penis rash or even limited to the penis at all. This eruption can appear on any part of the body, but this article will focus on its presentation specifically as a penis rash.
Swimmer’s itch can be found in both salt and fresh water, but it is more often a fresh water issue – so lakes, ponds and rivers are more likely to cause it than the ocean. The cause of this penis rash is a tiny microscopic parasite called a schistosome. Birds (like ducks, geese and swans) and certain mammals (especially raccoons and muskrats especially) are the natural hosts of these parasites.
When these nasty parasites infect an animal, they lay eggs which get carried out of the animal’s body as part of their stool. If the eggs end up in water, they hatch and the baby parasites start swimming around looking for a particular kind of host, a specific snail which lives in and around the water. These snails in turn release a different kind of parasite – the aforementioned schistosome – which needs to find its own host. The schistosomes would much rather latch onto a goose or a raccoon, but they aren’t picky and will take whatever host may be handy – such as some guy swimming by.
They then burrow into his skin, thinking they’ve found a good host. But surprise! Humans aren’t really able to give them what they need. By the time they figure this out, it’s too late – they’re stuck there and they soon die.
But not before setting off alarms in the host’s body which causes the penis rash.
As the name swimmer’s itch implies, the rash is one which is quite itchy – which can be embarrassing when it is localized on and around the penis. In some cases, the itchiness can become a tingling sensation or even a burning one. Its physical presentation is of small reddish pimples; in some cases, they may instead resemble small red blisters.
Although the rash looks nasty, it is not easily spread from one person to another. However, the penis rash may be irritated from friction that accompanies sex.
Typically the rash will occur anywhere from a few hours to a few days after exposure to the parasites. A doctor’s attention is rarely needed. Using over-the-counter corticosteroid creams or anti-itching lotions can help, as can applying cold compresses and baking soda pastes or soaking in oatmeal baths.
A penis rash from swimmer’s itch or other causes needs the soothing relief of a top drawer penis health crème (health professionals recommend Man 1 Man Oil, which is clinically proven mild and safe for skin). The penis skin needs to be kept hydrated, so a crème with a combination of moisturizing agents – such as vitamin E and shea butter – is essential. In addition, the crème should contain a range of vitamins – A, B5, C and D, in addition to E – to help strengthen the penis skin and allow it to heal more quickly and effectively.