Contaminated water in swimming pools, water play areas and beaches can cause swimming-related illnesses. Anyone can get these illnesses.
Such illnesses are usually minor but can result in more serious diseases. Children, seniors, pregnant women and people with compromised immune systems are at higher risk for these illnesses.
These illnesses can spread by swallowing, breathing in mists or aerosols or having contact with contaminated water.
Different bacteria can infect the water and make you sick.
The most reported water recreational-related illness is diarrhea caused by bacteria such as:
Other minor illnesses can include diseases affecting the eye, ear, skin and upper respiratory system.
The chlorine used in swimming pools kills most of the bacteria that cause recreational water illnesses.
In highly polluted water, swimmers may be exposed to the following serious diseases:
People with compromised immune systems are more likely to develop illnesses or infection after swimming in polluted water. If you think you have a swimming related illness, talk to your health care provider.
Do not swim in areas where there are no lifeguards or when a beach is under an advisory or closure. The best way to prevent swimming-related illnesses is to follow the following steps:
You should regularly monitor water quality. If water quality does not meet the legal requirements, you should close the pool until it is corrected. Make educational materials available to all swimmers. Have a written response policy to address feces, vomit and blood contamination incidents.
Chlorine and pH levels should be checked at least three times a day and more often when the pool is in heavy use. These chemicals can also cause injuries if they are not properly handled. Take these steps to protect yourself and swimmers: