Water-related illnesses are caused by germs that live in fountains, spas, pools, rivers, lakes, and other bodies of water. You can get a water-related illness by swallowing contaminated water, breathing mists, or by other contact with bodies of water.
The most commonly reported illnesses are gastrointestinal, including diarrheal illnesses caused by Cryptosporidium, Giardia, Shigella, norovirus and shiga-toxigenic Escherichia coli. Other water-related illnesses are respiratory, skin, ear, eye, and neurologic infections. In the past two decades, Oregon has seen an increase in the number of recreational water illness outbreaks associated with swimming.
Reduce your chances of water-related illness by taking these actions:
- Practice good hand hygiene by washing your hands after using the toilet or changing diapers
- Don’t go in the water when ill (or recently ill) with diarrheal illness
- Shower with soap before and after you enter recreational waters
- Don’t swallow the water
- Take bathroom breaks at least every 60 minutes
Learn the facts about the most common illnesses associated with recreational water and what you can do to protect yourself, your family and others.