Most campgrounds feature some kind of water attraction for your enjoyment. It might be a lake, or it could be a fabulous pool. While you expect that a lake will have some bacteria in it, what’s lurking in the pool could be just as surprising. Before you decide to cool off in the campground swimming hole, make sure the water is actually safe.
Recent Rains Increase Pollution
Rain causes pool temperatures to drop, and it also contributes to the pollution in lakes. Water running across farmer’s fields picks up fertilizers and weed killers, and that flows directly into nearby waterways. If you are camping in an area surrounded by farmland, you might want to ask about recent rain activity before deciding to go for a swim. This is particularly important for people with weak immune systems and pregnant women.
Call the Local Health Department
Before you head out for your trip, call the local health department for the area you’re visiting. They can tell you if the region has warnings out for swimming in lakes and ponds. States like Florida are urging people not to swim in any lakes due to deadly amoeba that are on the rise because of drought. The threat of infection is particularly high in the summer, but the local health department will know of concerns like this and will share the information with you.
Check the Water Clarity
The water in a community pool should be crystal clear and free of algae. Cloudy water is a warning sign that the campground is not using enough chlorine to kill bacteria. Ingesting just a small amount of pool water can result in diarrheal illnesses, flu-like symptoms and even E.coli. Children and adults alike should take care not to swallow pool water. Even a pool with perfect water and chlorine levels can harbor bacteria that will make children sick if it is ingested. Do your part to keep the pool clean by staying out if you have diarrhea and making sure that you wash your private areas very well before going for a swim.
With a little diligence, your family can avoid the misery of recreational water illnesses. It might mean that you go for a bike ride instead of cooling off in the pool or lake, but that’s a good trade if it helps you stay healthy. It’s also the best choice if you aren’t feeling well yourself.