As the warmer weather is approaching, we’re excited to jump into pools, lakes or the ocean. The British Environment Agency offers some advice on staying healthy in open water swimming.
Open water swimming is an enjoyable pastime but carries risks that differ from swimming in a pool. These risks include gastrointestinal illnesses, respiratory, skin, ear and eye infections, and exposure to harmful bacteria and algae. Bathing waters are monitored and protected by the Environment Agency to ensure they are safe for bathers’ health, but other open water locations that are not designated as bathing waters carry higher health risks.
Factors affecting the risk of becoming ill include the presence of micro-organisms, the age and experience of the swimmer, the immune system, and heavy rainfall, which can wash harmful bacteria into the water. To reduce the risk of illness, choose where and when to swim carefully, check the water quality information, avoid swimming in water with blue-green algal blooms or scums in freshwaters, wear appropriate protective clothing, and observe local safety advice.
After swimming, ensure you clean your hands, cuts or abrasions, and your wetsuit. Seek medical help if you become unwell, and do not swim again until you have had no diarrhoeal symptoms for at least 48 hours.
Let’s work together to mke sure that no feces will enter our open waters!
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