Swimming-Related Illnesses

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Summer is a time to enjoy the water, but also to take steps to remain healthy while you do. Illnesses associated with swimming are on the rise.

Dr. Edward Hill discusses these illnesses in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

Contrary to popular belief, chlorine does not kill all germs immediately. Some germs are very tolerant of chlorine and can cause serious illness. It can take anywhere from minutes to days for chlorine to kill them. Swallowing just a little water that contains these germs can make you sick.

Germs in pools and other recreational water can cause digestive system illnesses and infections of the skin, ears and lungs. Wound infections can be especially dangerous.

Cryptosporidiosis germs, which can stay alive for days even in well-maintained pools, have become the leading cause of swimming pool-related outbreaks of diarrheal illness.

The risk isnt just in pools. Hot tubs, jacuzzis and fountains can harbor these germs as well, and beaches, lakes and streams exposed to sewage runoff can be sources of illness.

Cryptosporidiosis and other infections can be especially severe, possibly life-threatening, for children, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems. Precautions are especially important.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.