It seems like the summer is going by pretty quickly and many of us want to take advantage of the sunny weather and of all the activities that come with it. Many people visit water parks, resorts, and even trips to the lake and the ocean if you live nearby. While it may seem perfectly normal, you should know of the risks that come with these activities.
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An average of 35 deaths nationwide are reported each year from people swimming in lakes and oceans. About half of them come from five Gulf Coast states: Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Texas, and Louisiana. Vibrio vulnificus has already taken the lives of 4 people this year, which is a flesh-destroying bacterium.
When this bacterium comes into the body through open wounds, they release a toxin that can cause skin breakdown and ulcers. Symptoms can include fever, swelling, redness of skin on arms or legs, low blood pressure and shock.
Pools found in resorts and water parks are not free from bacteria, no matter the amount of chlorine. Water quality can be affected by bacteria or by the chlorine itself. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, germ-filled pools are causing a large increase in recreational water illnesses caused by germs spread by swallowing, breathing aerosols, or having contact with contaminated water in swimming pools, hot tubs, water parks, lakes, rivers, and oceans. Feces can spread many of these germs and just one person can contaminate an entire pool.
If you’re wary about going into a pool, there are some things that you can do and watch out for just to be extra cautious:
- Bacteria test strips: You can use these strips to test the water, since they can detect E.Coli, and other forms of bacteria.
- Chlorine: The high levels of chlorine smell can be a sign of chloramines and poor ventilation.
- Slimy pool: Touch the sides of the pool to make sure they’re not slimy or sticky.
- Don’t drink the water: While many pools and resorts have slides and it’s almost impossible not to accidentally drink the water, tell your children to avoid drinking the water by all means.
- Shower: Make sure you shower before you enter the pool and after to avoid spreading and catching bacteria.
- Clear water: Swim in water that looks clear, make sure you can see right to the bottom of the pool. Cloudy water means that it hasn’t been cleaned recently.
- Sick: If you are sick or have diarrhea, don’t get into the pool because you can spread germs.
- Open wounds: Do not get into the pool if you have open wounds because bacteria can enter your body faster and potentially more dangerous.