Expert offers advice on healthy swimming

CBS19 News at 6 p.m. - June 29, 2017

TYLER - With July 4th weekend approaching, many families are getting ready for a trip to the pool or lake. Among the people and fish, you'll also find potentially harmful bacteria.

While one expert said there is no reason for alarm, he suggested several simple steps to keep recreational water illness away.

“You're way, way more at risk of drowning or something along those lines,” said Dr. Lance Williams, a professor of biology at the University of Texas at Tyler.

Nationwide, outbreaks of Cryptosporidium (crypto), a  parasitic infection tied to recreational water are on the rise.

The CDC reported 32 Cryptosporidium outbreaks linked to pools or water playgrounds in 2016, compared to 16 outbreaks in 2014.

"If the chlorine is too low and the water gets too hot then obviously you create conditions where the bacteria can grow," said Dr. Williams.

Crypto is the most common cause of diarrheal illness and outbreaks linked to swimming pools or water playgrounds because it is not easily killed by chlorine and can survive up to 10 days in properly treated water, according to the CDC.

Though Dr. Williams said a swimmer’s chance of getting sick from crypto or another similar organism is relatively low, he said certain preventative measures are still necessary.

“If you're in a swim beach and it's really hot and the water feels really warm, use nose plugs or don't get the water up your nose,” said Williams. “Don't drink a large amount of water.”

“Don't shave right before you go in the lake,” he added. “There is a chance you could get staph infection.”

On Thursday, epidemiologists with the Northeast Texas Public Health District told CBS19 they have seen no general increase in waterborne illness this summer.

“Have fun and just use some general safety precautions,” said Williams.

© 2017 KYTX-TV


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