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Recreational Water Illness


Six steps for healthy swimmingRecreational water illnesses are caused by germs spread by swallowing, breathing in mists or aerosols of, or having contact with contaminated water in swimming pools, hot tubs, water parks, water play areas, interactive fountains, lakes, rivers, or oceans. Recreational water illnesses can include a wide variety of infections, including gastrointestinal, skin, ear, respiratory and eye infections.

The best way to prevent recreational water illnesses (RWI) is to keep germs out of the water:

  • Don't swallow pool, lake, pond or river water.
  • Practice good hygiene. Shower with soap before and after swimming.
  • Avoid swimming, diving or other activities in obviously stagnant freshwater bodies when temperatures are high and water levels are low.
  • Hold your nose or wear nose plugs when underwater or when diving or swimming in hot, shallow freshwater bodies.

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Last Updated: 05-30-2013

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