Recreational water quality and health: Protecting your health

How to protect yourself before, during and after a visit to a recreational water area.

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Before your visit

Check for up-to-date water quality monitoring results and swimming advisories on local health department or municipal websites.

Pack protective gear such as:

Talk to your health care provider about the risks of taking part in recreational water activities if you're more susceptible to infections, such as:

During your visit

Follow all posted signs, like:

Be aware of any potential hazards in the area, such as:

Remember that some hazards may not have warning signs.

When in the water, remember to:

Don't poop in the water and stay out of the water if you have diarrhea. Harmful microorganisms in feces can get into the water and make others sick.

Dry off with a towel after being in the water to help remove any contaminants from your skin.

Always wash your hands with clean water and soap, or use hand sanitizer, before consuming any food.

Sand can contain microorganisms that can make you sick. To reduce exposure, you can:

Dispose of your garbage properly. Litter can attract animals to the area and cause injuries for beach users.

Take measures to protect yourself from heat illnesses and overexposure to the sun's UV rays.

Learn more about:

After leaving the area

Shower with soap and water as soon as you can after spending time in the water or on the beach. This will wash away microorganisms and any other contaminants.

If you become ill after your visit, talk to your healthcare provider. Report your illness to your local public health unit. This can help identify outbreaks of disease related to the recreational water area.

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