I am a 39 year old male and I have never had a problem going into the ocean or a fresh water lake.
Recently I went out into the ocean for about 4 hours. Within an hour my hands started itching badly and tiny blisters started forming around the base of my thumbs and on the top of my hands. The blisters look like tapioca and are realy small. There are a lot of them and the fluid inside looks yellowish. The initial bad itch disapears after about a day or two although scalding hot water makes the itch go away immidiately for a good two to three hours. After about a week the blisters disappear and the skin turns brown and itches. A few days after that the dead brown skin is gone and the underlaying skin is red. It looks like recovering skin after a burn. The red skin is sensative to the touch but reduces in color to normal skin color after about another week.
The same thing happened in a freshwater river. The blisters came back in full force and almost dubbled in amount and spread to the bases of my index and middle fingers.
I went to see a dermatologist and he gave me "desoximetasone". It does help with the itch and the redness of the skin but it does not cure the problem. He said that there was no cure for this and just had to live with it. I don't have these symptoms with normal tab water.
Does anybody know about this condition and is it true there is nothing for it? Clearely there is something in "outdoor" water that causes this to happen. I hate having to give up my outdoor water activeties.
Maybe it isn't the water but being out in the sun for a long period of time and the water intensifies the sun. Could this be? I'll tell you why I think it may be.
For years I made hay in the fields and was out in the sun for many hours. About 5 years ago, I noticed the same thing you are describing but it wasn't as intense as yours. The next week I was out again for many hours and it was worse. Each subsequent exposure it got worse, and the next year was even worse yet.
I have moved and don't farm anymore but whenever I am out working on the pool or the yard in the direct sun for hours, I get it. It is always on the base of my fingers/thumbs and sometimes just a few are on my wrists and up my arms.
With all the crap we have put in our environment I wouldn't be surprised if it is a chemical reaction intensified by the sun, maybe the sun itself being that the atmosphere is so wacked.
Did the doctor say what it was or what caused it with any certainty? I heard a news story of an international health org warning of a "global itching" epidemic coming on. Someone knows something eh?
Maybe try some powerful sunblock or an industrial type chemical block skin lotion they make for workers that contact mild chemicals with bare skin. I used to have some but never thought of trying it til now.
Good luck and don't give up going airborn on the kiteboard.
thanks for your input. The sun, in the instances I had, was definitely out in full force. Never actually thought in that direction. It just seemed logical to me that it had to be something in the water. This due to the fact that during the peiods without contact with "outdoor" water i'm still out in de sun and nothing happens.
The doc however said that there was nothing against it but just in case wash my hands with regular soap instead of liquid soap. That does not do the trick.
I'm just very frustrated having never been alergic to anything and now starting a new hobby/ sport (kiteboarding) this happens.
I'm keeping the faith that there is something for/ against it. I will definitely look into those industrial blockers.
I have had this blister situation happen a number of times. The strange thing is it only happens when I am at the ocean on the Florida Gulf coast. No other time with sun exposure in other states. Small blisters on tops of hands, itch like crazy. I've treated with Lanocaine & Ice. Takes about a week to go away after leaving the coast.
I have noticed a similar reaction from eating egg rolls and chinese food. The reaction stays away as long as I do not eat chinese take out. I have witnessed this because of some mongolian beef I ate once too. it happened almost instantly. it gets so bad I feel I need to wring my hands to the point of breaking bones due to itching.