If you’re going to the beach, beware of bringing home more than just sand

Maddie Michaels

| 3 min read

lake michigan
Michigan’s lakes are common hot spots for many summer activities with friends and family. Large areas of water are typically not maintained as much as they should be, especially with so many people actively engaging in water sports and leisure fun. There are risks for potential diseases and infections from bacteria within lakes and rivers.
Infection-producing germs are present everywhere in large bodies of water. This lingering bacteria can cause many irregularities to the skin and body, the most common symptoms include skin rash, diarrhea and swimmers’ ear. Your body is often experiencing side effects of bacteria-filled lake water if your skin begins to itch, tingle, or burn, or if blisters and small red pimples start appearing.
Follow these precautions when you’re having fun on the lake, so that dangers infections can be avoided.
  • Keep your eyes and mouth closed: Try to avoid getting water in your mouth and in your eyes, so that bacteria is not able to easily enter your body. Your eyes and stomach may get irritated from the germs, causing diarrhea and eye infections.
  • Stay out if you have open cuts: Do not enter the lake if you have open wounds. Open injuries are more prone to infection, especially in a dirty pool of lake water that contains so many germs.
  • Take a shower: Bathe yourself after swimming in a lake in order to maintain hygiene and stay clean. If bacteria has not entered your body, it may be actively resting on your skin, creating a rash or finding an open cut to infect.
  • Treat wounds Immediately: Some times there a sharp rocks on the bottom of the lake, clean any cuts so that bacteria can be washed out and fresh skin can be healthily exposed. New skin is very sensitive and needs to be cleaned regularly even without contact with lake water bacteria.
  • See your doctor: If signs of infection are becoming apparent, contact your doctor as soon as possible. Side effects may become more severe if action is not taken right away.
Keep these tips in mind when swimming in a regular pool this summer too. Chlorine does not kill all of the germs and bacteria that lurk in pools, so side effects from bacteria may still be possible. Side effects may be seen within a few days of being in a lake or swimming pool, and if these become severe or consistent, be sure to contact your doctor immediately.
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Photo Credit: James R. Burton, Jr.

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