Here in Syracuse many families enjoy taking the kids to the many beautiful beaches in the surrounding areas during the summer vacation. Many families here also visit Florida to enjoy the beaches and swimming for vacations. Now alarming news that even clean swimming water can present a health risk for swimmers should alert families to take special precautions when swimming. HealthDay, http://consumer.healthday.com, has reported on a University of Miami news release dealing with this problem in an article titled “Clean Water May Still Pose Health Risk for Swimmers: Microbes at sub-tropical beaches can cause stomach, respiratory problems, study finds”.
In this article it was reported that swimmers who dip into the pollution-free waters of sub-tropical beaches, such as those in southern Florida, have been found to face an elevated risk for developing gastrointestinal and/or respiratory illnesses. This study, which involved tracking 1,300 South Florida beach-going residents, was released online in the International Journal of Epidemiology, http://ije.oxfordjournals.org, in an article titled “The BEACHES Study: health effects and exposures from non-point source microbial contaminants in subtropical recreational marine waters”.
Lead author Dr. Lora Fleming, co-director of the Center for Oceans and Human Health and a professor of epidemiology at the University of Miami has said “We found that when swimming in sub-tropical beach areas with no known pollution or contamination from sewage or runoff, you still have a chance of being exposed to the kind of microbes that can make you sick. This information is especially important to take into account for children and the elderly, or if you have a compromised immune system and are planning a beach outing.”
Dr. Samir Elmir, environmental administrator with the Miami-Dade County Health Department, said in the same news release “While people shouldn’t avoid our beautiful beaches, which are regularly monitored for water quality safety, we recommend taking simple precautions to reduce the risk of microbes so your visit to the beach can be more enjoyable.” In order to minimize the risk of microbe contact, experts suggest the following: Swimmers should not swallow water, beach-goers should wash their hands with soap before eating, make sure small children have access to a bathroom when visiting a public beach, shower before and after swimming, and avoid swimming altogether when sick. These authors noted that microbes have been linked to warm water temperatures, and their prevalence can be affected by such factors as rainfall patterns, sunlight, currents and wave conditions.
It is logical to assume the same health risks for swimmers may exist in the warm waters off of the beaches in the Syracuse region during the warm summer months too. And so whether visiting Florida for a vacation or swimming at the many beautiful beaches here in the Syracuse region families should take the advice in this report seriously and take the suggested simple precauations seriously when swimming. Being careful about the potential for possible infections when swimming will help keep you and your family naturally more healthy.
Mandel News Service: http://www.mandelnews.com