Allergy To Sea Water?


Asked by Medellia

Allergy To Sea Water?

The last few times I've visited the beach I developed a facial rash after 2/3 days which are like little white puss filled spots that multply over the next few days and then heal over a couple of weeks. I don't have any allergies to seafood, as I've eaten seafood away from the beach and have been fine. I was wondering if it might have something to do with sea water. I've devloped this rash in waters in both India and Mexico. It is quite distressing, I hope someone can help.


Hi Medelina,

You're not alone. Other people on the site have experienced unexplained rashes after swimming in the ocean or otherwise being exposed to sea water.

Unfortunately, as far as medical research goes, there doesn't seem to be any such thing as a sea water allergy.

According to the Amercian Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI), sea water or salt water allergy is unlikely, but the reaction may be something known as "seabather's eruption," a rash that happens after exposure to ocean water and usually covers the area of the body covered by the bathing suit.

The rash may be caused by an organism that may be too tiny to see, but will eventually grow into adult sea anemones. Some sea anemones can hurt people with poisonous stings. Researchers suspect that the tiny larval stage of the anemone may be what causes the rash.

According to the studies, there's very little that can be done for the rash and it usually goes away on its own in about 12 days. Talk to your doctor about what happened. Your doctor may be able to help you with tips for avoiding this again. If you still have questions about allergies, you may want to get a referal to an allergist, who can do allergy testing to help figured out if something else is causing the trouble.

Good luck!

Answered by JB