Jul 21, 2016

Posted by in Family Practice, General, Internal Medicine | 0 Comments

Woot Woot! Lake Vacation Countdown!

Woot-Woot-Lake-Vacation-CountdownOh yeah baby! Time for some fun in the sun. Time for some relaxation. Time for sleeping in and staying up late. Only a few more weeks and I’m going to be sitting on a dock soaking in some sun and pretending I’m annoyed when my kiddos splash me!

These are my thoughts and then I get an email from Pella Regional’s infection control nurse about contaminated water with germs that can cause recreational water illnesses (RWI). Ew! She really needs to work on her timing.

But, this is good information so I will proceed to be a buzz kill for others of you who are planning a vacation around water. With some precautions, you’ll be just fine and soaking in some sun worry free soon. Here is some of the information she shared from the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology:

Knowing the basic facts about RWI can make the difference between an enjoyable time at the pool, beach, or water park, and getting a rash, having diarrhea, or developing another potentially serious illness.

When I said “Ew” I meant it. Yep, diarrhea is the most common RWI.  Swimmers who are sick with diarrhea—or who have been sick in the last two weeks—risk contaminating pool water with germs. Certain germs that cause diarrhea can live from minutes to days in pools, even if the pool is kept clean and disinfected.

Oceans, lakes, and rivers can be contaminated with germs from sewage spills, animal waste, water runoff following rainfall, fecal incidents, and germs rinsed off the bottoms of swimmers. It is important to avoid swallowing the water because natural recreational water is not disinfected.

Here are a few tips:

Before you go into the water at the beach or lake:

  • Avoid swimming after a heavy rain.
  • Beware of storm drains (pipes that drain polluted water); do not swim near them.
  • Look out for trash and other signs of pollution such as oil slicks in the water; this may indicate presence of disease-causing germs that may have washed into the water.

Before you go into the water at the pool:

  • Clean and clear pool water. You should be able to clearly see any painted stripes and the bottom of the pool.
  • Smooth pool sides. Tiles should not be sticky or slippery.
  • No odor. A well-chlorinated pool has little odor. A strong chemical smell indicates a maintenance problem.
  • Pool equipment working. Pool pumps and filtration systems make noise and you hear them running.

Well, it wasn’t too much of a buzz kill, was it? As with anything be smart and then enjoy your vacation to the fullest extent. I know I will!!!!!!!!!

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