Heat and moisture can create bacteria growth in your swimsuits

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - Wet bathing suits and heat could create a nasty bacterial problem below the waist for grownups, children and yes, even men.

Dr. Annette Anderson, a family medicine physician with Roper St. Francis Hospital, says she often sees an increase in problems below the belt with patients this time of year.

"When you are out enjoying summer fun at the beach, you're going to be having increased moisture in your bathing suit, and that sets up a nice wet warm environment for bacteria," she said.

Anderson says bacteria can form in a matter of minutes.

"With fungal and yeast infections of the skin, if left untreated it will typically get worse," she said. "You'll start to have itching of the skin, and the rash could spread if you start to scratch the skin then it can become infected and then you can actually end up a secondary bacteria infection of the skin."

Anderson said med will often have a rash of little red bumps in the groin -- those are actually an overgrowth of yeast or fungus, she said.

There are simple solutions to avoid the unpleasant issues. In general, swimmers don't want to sit around in their wet clothing, says Anderson. She also recommends rinsing off if possible.

"Kids, they go out and spend time in the pool and come back in the house and then maybe sit around in wet bathing suit," Anderson said. "Even though they may have cooled off, they still got that moist environment where the skin is warm enough for bacteria to grow."

As far as treatment, Anderson recommends over-the-counter remedies for treatment, as long as the sufferer are not having stomach pain or a fever.

"If it doesn't clear up after one treatment, you should go and visit your doctor," she said.

Doctors say there are a lot of heat rashes that can also form bumps on the skin. Anderson encourages anyone with questions to talk to their doctors.