What You Should Know About Recreational Water Illness

Recreational water illness, also known as RWI, is a type of disease that you can get from swimming, playing or bathing in water. When the water is shared among many people, whether the body of water is a pool, ocean, hot tub, lake, water park or anything else, people can become sick when it’s contaminated.

What Are Common Symptoms of Recreational Water Illness?

Certain symptoms are very common with recreational water illnesses. They include the following:

• Congestion
• Cough
• Diarrhea
• Ear pain
• Eye pain
• Skin rashes

How Do Recreational Water Illnesses Spread?

Recreational water illnesses are acquired when a person is in a shared body of water or pool, hot tub or another mechanism. You can get sick if you swallow water that’s contaminated or breathe in aerosols from the water. Another way to get a recreational water illness is by having direct contact with chemicals in the water or that may evaporate and become gas that’s airborne.

Diarrhea is the most common of these illnesses. If a person is sick with it, they can spread their germs to others once they have entered the water. Even if the individual doesn’t have an accident while in the water, a tiny bit of feces still on their body can get into the water and contaminate it. As a result, if someone swallows the water, they can catch the illness and become sick.

Recreational water illnesses like eye, ear, skin, and respiratory infections can be caused by germs that live in water and soil. If chemicals such as chlorine aren’t administered at the appropriate level in pools, hot tubs, and water parks, germs can easily multiply and sicken anyone who goes into the water.

Why Does the Spread of Recreational Water Illnesses Occur So Dramatically?

Unfortunately, in recent years, the number of recreational water illnesses has greatly increased. The leading cause is Cryptosporidium, a parasite that causes diarrhea diseases. They can thrive in pools for days even with the best maintenance. Although chlorine is widely believed to kill all germs, most swimmers don’t think about others sharing the water. This easily leads to the spread of recreational water illnesses.

How Can You Prevent Recreational Water Illness?

There are simple ways you can prevent recreational water illness. They include the following:

• Don’t swim or go into a hot tub or another shared water source when you have diarrhea
• Don’t swallow the water
• Keep your ears as dry as possible and dry them well after you get out of the water
• Stay out of the water if you have any open wounds

With extra care, it’s possible to prevent spreading recreational water illnesses and avoid getting sick.

Disclaimer: The information posted on this page is for educational purposes only. If you need medical advice or help with a diagnosis, contact your medical professional.

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