Recreational Water Illness - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

7/12/06

Recreational Water Illness

While Chlorine kills most germs in pools, you can still get sick from infections from bacteria people bring into the pool and that can leave you with an upset stomach or an earache you may not suspect came from a swim.

"When people get diarrhea in the summer they often think it's from something that they ate. They don't make the connection that it may have been swimming that they did a week ago. The germs that can cause diarrhea are often on the skin and if people don't shower before they get into the pool or if people swallow water while they're in the pool, it can set up an infection that will happen later when they're at home."--Dr. Alan Greene, Pediatrician, Stanford University. 

An infection that can easily spread to others playing in the same water.

So here's what you can do to protect yourself and others. Shower before going into the water. Avoid getting water into your mouth and teach your kids not to swallow the water they're swimming in. After coming out of the water, wash your hands before eating. Don't change diapers at the edge of the water, use a designated changing area. And if you have diarrhea, stay out of the water while your symptoms persist and for two weeks after they stop, because you could still contaminate the water. But these aren't the only way you can get sick from water.

"So the most common recreational water illness is swimmer's ear. It affects 6 million cases a year, swimmer's ear. And the thing about swimmer's ear is it really hurts . It's a bacterial infection usually caused by bacteria called sudomoniez or staff that gets into the skin of the ear canal."--Dr. Alan Greene, Pediatrician, Stanford University

The best prevention? Don't stick anything, like your finger or a cotton swab, in your ear. It can scratch the ear canal, leaving it ripe for infection. And dry your ears after you swim. Plus Dr. Alan Greene says, "When you leave the pool, tilt your head to the side, tug on the ear, and it will allow the water to drain out with gravity. Do it on the other side too."

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