Healthy places Water Beaches and recreational water Water illness

Recreational water illness

Recreational water illnesses are spread by swallowing, breathing or having contact with disease-causing microorganisms like E. coli in swimming pools, spas, lakes or rivers.

Symptoms of recreational water illnesses can include gastrointestinal and respiratory infections, as well as infections of the skin, ears, eyes, and wounds. Children, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems are most at risk of getting sick.  

To minimize the risk of getting a recreational water illness:

  • Shower yourself and your children with soap for one minute before swimming
  • Do not poop or pee in the water
  • Stay out of the water if you have diarrhea
  • Do not swallow the water
  • Take young children to the bathroom every 30-60 minutes
  • Change diapers in the bathroom, not around swimming areas
  • Wash hands thoroughly after using the toilet or changing diapers