Water Borne Infections

Recreational Water Borne Infections

Feet under water

Whether you choose to use a public pool or spa, your own backyard pool or go to a beach, you should be aware of some water borne illnesses that could be contracted from these recreational water facilities and how to avoid them.

How to reduce your risk of getting sick

Recreational water illnesses are spread by swallowing, breathing or having contact with disease-causing microorganisms like E. coli in swimming pools, spas, lakes or rivers.

To minimize the risk of getting a recreational water illness:

  • Shower yourself and your children with soap for one minute before swimming
  • Do not poop or pee in the water
  • Stay out of the water if you have diarrhea
  • Do not swallow the water
  • Take young children to the bathroom every 30-60 minutes
  • Change diapers in the bathroom, not around swimming areas
  • Wash hands thoroughly after using the toilet or changing diapers

Water Borne Illnesses

Symptoms of recreational water illnesses can include gastrointestinal and respiratory infections, as well as infections of the skin, ears, eyes, and wounds. Children, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems are most at risk of getting sick.

Some types of water borne illnesses:

  • Cryptosporidium: a germ that causes diarrhea
  • Folliculitis or Dermatitis or ‘Hot Tub Rash’: an infection of the skin
  • Giardia: a germ that causes diarrhea
  • Swimmer’s Ear: an infection of the outer ear canal
  • Swimmer’s Itch: a skin rash caused by certain parasites that infect some birds and mammals

For more information: CDC: Healthy Swimming

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