Health officials offer hygiene tips to avoid Recreational Water Illnesses

Tips to avoid Recreational Water Illness
Updated: Jun. 1, 2018 at 5:13 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Following a previous summer with an outbreak in recreational water illnesses, the City of Lubbock Health Department is urging swimmers take the necessary steps to prevent getting the diseases.

"Last year what we saw was an outbreak of Crypto in some of our swimming pools in town," Director Katherine Wells said. "With that, Crypto is a little bit trickier than some of the other bacteria that we see."

Recreational Water Illnesses are contracted by coming in contact with contaminated water in swimming pools, water play areas and natural bodies of water like lakes. RWIs can cause a variety of infections, most commonly diarrhea.

"Pools are usually going to be the cleanest because they are chlorinated," Wells said. "Other bodies of water, which are natural, are more likely to have some contaminates in them."

Wells tells KCBD it's not unusual to see certain summer swimming diseases but Cryptosporidium is more difficult to contain, as germs associated with that particular illness are very tolerant to chlorine. The Health Department says some germs can live for several minutes or even days until being killed by chlorine.

"The most important thing to remember is that if you're sick, especially with diarrhea, is not to swim," Wells said. "Also, good hygiene is important, making sure you wash your hands and shower off before and after you get into that pool."

You are also asked to make sure children take frequent bathroom breaks.

The Health Department works to trace these illnesses but Wells said they are under reported because most infected people don't seek a doctor's treatment until symptoms become severe or prolonged. However, when they are reported, the disease can be investigated and traced.

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