Risk factors for seabather's eruption: a prospective cohort study

Public Health Rep. 1997 Jan-Feb;112(1):59-62.


Objective: A prospective cohort study was performed to identify risk factors for seabather's eruption.

Methods: Study participants were recruited at four beaches in Palm Beach County, Florida, during three weekends of May and June 1993. Participants were interviewed by telephone after 48 hours regarding medical history, beach activities, development of rashes, and use of possible preventive measures.

Results: Seabather's eruption, defined by the occurrence of a rash within two days of exposure to seawater, was reported by 114 (16%) of 735 respondents. The strongest predictor of seabather's eruption was a past history of the condition. Children less than 16 years of age were also at increased risk, as were surfers. Showering with one's bathing suit off was a useful protective measure.

Conclusion: The study's findings suggest that when the seasonal risk of seabather's eruption is present, children, people with a history of seabather's eruption, and surfers are at greatest risk. During the sea lice season, seabathers can minimize their risk by showering with their bathing suits off after seabathing. Length of the time spent in water was not significantly associated with seabather's eruption.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Animals
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dermatitis / etiology*
  • Dermatitis / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Florida
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Larva
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Scyphozoa*
  • Seasons
  • Seawater / adverse effects*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Swimming*
  • Time Factors