ARHS reminds community to prevent water-related illnesses

Albemarle Regional Health Services, the community healthcare provider for Currituck County, reminds citizens to take steps for preventing Recreational Water Illnesses (RWI). RWIs are caused by germs or chemicals found in swimming pools, hot tubs, lakes, rivers, estuaries, and oceans.

Vibrio infections, E.coli – shiga toxin, Shigellosis, and Cryptosporidiosis are all Recreational Water Illnesses (RWIs). These illnesses are more common in summer. RWIs are infections that can be contracted by swallowing, breathing in, or having contact with contaminated water. The most common types of RWIs include gastrointestinal illnesses, skin infections, respiratory infections, and ear infections. These illnesses can be caused by various pathogens, including bacteria, viruses, and parasites.

Safety Tips for Preventing RWIs

  1. Don’t swim if you are sick.
  2. Don’t swim if you have a compromised immune system or open wounds.
  3. Take a quick shower with soap and water before entering the water.
  4. Don’t swallow the water.
  5. Use proper hygiene practices, such as washing your hands thoroughly after using the restroom or changing diapers.
  6. Change diapers in designated changing areas, not near the water.
  7. Keep water clean if you own a pool or hot tub and regularly test the water.
  8. Avoid swimming in high risk areas or situations. Wait 24-48 hours to swim after a heavy rainfall and avoid swimming near an ocean outfall.
  9. Stay informed of any local advisories or warnings regarding water quality from the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality by visiting their NC Recreational Water Quality Swimming Advisory Map.
  10. Teach children about water safety, the importance of not swallowing water, and good hygiene practices.
  11. Report any water quality concerns to the NC Department of Environmental Quality, local health department, or swimming pool operators.
  12. Seek medical care if you become ill.