State warns of water illnesses
State health officials are warning swimmers and others about recreational water illness, which can be spread by swallowing, breathing in mists or aerosols of, or having contact with contaminated water in swimming pools, hot tubs, water parks, water play areas, interactive fountains, lakes, rivers, or oceans.
Of particular concern are avoiding stagnant water, avoiding playing in or near masses of blue-green algae (see story, Page 1), and avoiding water during and after heavy rainfall, which can cause contamination in streams, rivers, and lakes.
Illnesses include a variety of infections, including gastrointestinal, skin, ear, respiratory, eye, neurologic, and wound infections. The most commonly reported water-related illness is diarrhea.
Officials offer these some rules to avoid illness:
- Don’t swim when having diarrhea.
- Don’t swallow pool water and avoid getting it in the mouth.
- Practice good hygiene by showering with soap before swimming as well as after swimming. Wash hands after using the toilet or changing diapers.
Swimmer’s ear is an infection of the outer ear canal that can cause pain and discomfort. The infection is preventable.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is encouraging swimmers to follow these guidelines:
- Keep ears as dry as possible.
- Dry ears thoroughly after swimming or showering.
- Don’t put objects in the ear canal.
- Don’t try to remove earwax.