Is It Safe to Go in the Water? Understanding Waterborne Illnesses
In the past, parents weren’t as concerned about the safety of the water in which we swim. Families flocked to lakes, reservoirs, and pools to enjoy a cool swim or to get some exercise. But today there are new germs that can contaminate water and cause illness.
Learn about new information concerning recreational water illnesses (RWIs), which are spread by swimming in contaminated recreational waters such as swimming pools, water parks, lakes, and the ocean, and find out how you can protect your family from getting sick.
Recreational Water Illnesses
RWIs are caused by germs like Crypto (KRIP-toe), short for Cryptosporidium, Giardia (gee-ARE-dee-uh), E. coli 0157:H7, and Shigella (Shi-GE-luh), and are spread by accidentally swallowing water that has been contaminated with fecal matter.
So, how does a pool get contaminated? You share the water with everyone in the pool. If someone who’s recently suffered from diarrhea contaminates the water, swallowing the water can make you sick.
Before you panic and throw away the swimsuits and beach towels forever, there’s some good news. Germs causing RWIs are killed by chlorine; however, chlorine takes time to kill germs, and some germs like Cryptare are chlorine resistant and can live in pools for days. This is why even the best-maintained pools can spread illness.
More good news: with healthy swimming behaviors, you and your kids can prevent becoming infected from RWIs and help stop germs from getting in the pool in the first place.
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