You’ve probably heard the advice “Don’t drink the water” when you travel to less developed areas of the world. But water can make you sick even without drinking it.
Bacteria and other disease causing organisms can be transmitted by swimming and other water related sports
- in private and public pools
- recreational freshwater and oceans
- hot tubs, splash pads, water parks
- decorative fountains
Drinking, inhaling, and direct contact with water contaminated with a variety of bugs can cause a wide range of illness, most of which is preventable. Here is an overview of common conditions to watch out for.
The most serious risk of water is drowning or near drowning, with 3,300 deaths and another 5,000 hospitalizations annually in the United States.
Children are especially at risk of drowning. Teaching children to swim as early as practical and supervising them around pools and other bodies of water are critical to prevention.
Gastrointestinal (stomach and intestines) illness-
Respiratory (nose, throat, lungs) illness
- nasal/sinus congestion,
- ear pain/fullness,fever
- pool chemicals
- Legionella and other bacteria
- Vibrio infection
- Pseudomonas bacteria
Most of these conditions resolve without treatment, or are treatable with appropriate antibiotics.
Serious but rare
Primary amebic meningoencephalitis is a rare but deadly sinus-related infection caused by Naegleria fowleri in freshwater and soil
Leptospirosis is another brain infection caused by a group of spirochetes known collectively as leptospires. It also is infrequent.
How to prevent infection
- Don’t drink water used for recreation even if treated with chlorine.
- Children younger than five years should not use hot tubs.
- Persons with diarrhea or recent diarrhea infection should not swim for one week after symptoms have cleared.
- Swimmers should shower before using a hot tub or pool.
- Don’t swim with open wounds, or use waterproof bandage if you do. .
- Learn more and get more tips on staying well at these links from
from American Family Physician
And from the Smithsonian , get more detail about
Exploring the HEART of summer health
I appreciate all of you who are following Watercress Words, and if you aren’t I invite you to join the wonderful people who are. You can meet some of them in the sidebar, where you can click on their image and visit their blogs. Use the form to get an email notification of new posts. Don’t worry, you won’t get anything else from me.