Beat 16 Summer Health Hazards
Recreational water illnesses (RWI)
Stats: RWI cases have increased substantially over the last two decadesas much as 200%.
Risks: All public swimming areas can harbor bacteria that cause gastrointestinal, skin, ear, respiratory, eye, neurologic, and wound infections. The most common: diarrhea. Accidentally swallowing water that's been contaminated with feces boosts your risk; that's why public pools ask you to shower before swimming.
Should you worry?: Anyone who swallows contaminated water can catch a RWI. Bacteria can live for days, even in properly chlorinated pools. As for those brain-eating amoebas you've heard about in the news, no need for alarmthere were just 31 infections reported in the United States between 2003 and 2012.