What are the potential illnesses associated with swimming?
Thousands of people swim at Iowa’s beaches every year and most of them do not get sick. However, children, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems have an increased risk of becoming ill when in contact with contaminated water.A variety of diarrheal diseases, and other infections such as skin, ear and respiratory infections, are associated with swimming in contaminated water. Diarrhea is one of the most common illnesses associated with swimming. Diarrhea is spread when disease-causing microorganisms from human or animal feces get into the water. You can get diarrhea by accidentally swallowing small amounts of water that contains these microorganisms. To date, the DNR has received no verified reports of illnesses caused by swimming or water skiing in Iowa’s waters. However, these illnesses could be under-reported because the symptoms are so common and people can be infected by these pathogenic microbes through other means, such as from contaminated meat, not washing their hands after using the bathroom or changing diapers.