By St. Mary's Medical Clinic
August 10, 2021
Tags: Waterborne Illnesses
When summer weather hits, everyone wants to cool off by jumping into the water. Of course, everything from pools to your local water park could be contaminated with a waterborne illness. Want to know how to protect you and your family from these germs so they don’t spoil your fun this summer?
Visiting a Water Park or Pool
Pools and water parks are particularly popular during the summer but can also easily become contaminated. Even though chlorine will kill germs, it doesn’t kill them right away, which means that even well-maintained pools, hot tubs, and water slides can still carry waterborne illnesses. Here’s what you can do to protect yourself and your family:
- If any member of your family has diarrhea, do not go swimming
- Make sure to shower both before and after swimming to remove germs (also wash bathing suits immediately)
- Do not swallow water
Places that are not properly maintained and disinfected are also more likely to cause waterborne illnesses, so it’s also important that you know what places may put you at risk.
Here’s what you can do,
- Always ask the pool staff how often the chemical levels are checked
- If the water has a strong chlorine smell do not go in the water
- If there is foam around the pool do not go in
- Avoid water that is cloudy (if you can’t see the bottom of the pool don’t go in)
Swimming in Lakes and Beaches
Instead of hitting the local water park or pool, your family may be heading to their beach or lake house for the summer. While many of the rules of the pool and water park apply to swimming in lakes and oceans (aka: not swallowing water; showering before and after swimming), here are some additional rules to follow to keep your family healthy and safe.
- Avoid swimming in any body of water after it’s rained because of the risk of contamination
- If there are blue-green algae in the water don’t go swimming
- If you see discharge pipes you also should avoid swimming in that area
- Don’t put your head underwater (particularly in freshwater)
- Avoid freshwater during hot days, particularly when the water level is low
If you or your child has been swimming and is dealing with symptoms of a waterborne illness, it’s a good idea to turn to your general practitioner for a diagnosis and to properly treat your symptoms. Since waterborne illnesses can increase your risk for dehydration, it’s important that you see your doctor before this happens to protect you and your loved one from further health issues.