Swimming is a great way to stay fit, as it can alleviate stress and enhance the production of endorphins, resulting in a feeling of well-being. Furthermore, swimming is an effective way to burn calories and work out muscles. Although swimming in a pool can be a hygienic experience, the same cannot be said for outdoor swimming. Continue reading to discover some of the dangers linked with open-water swimming.

Bacteria and Viruses
Open-water swimming is associated with many illnesses due to contamination. Bacteria or viruses can enter a human’s body through the eyes, mouth, or a cut on the skin. Viruses such as E. coli and Norovirus can lurk in natural waters, and rivers or canals might contain leptospira, which causes leptospirosis. If left untreated, leptospirosis can cause liver and kidney damage or eventually be fatal. Flu-like or jaundice symptoms can materialize up to two weeks after swimming in open water. Seawater is known to cause ear, nose, or throat infections and gastrointestinal upset. 

While swimming pools are extremely regulated, natural waters are not. Toxins from nearby farms or industrial areas can contaminate water, and many animals defecate in water. In specific situations, human sewage can be legally dumped into the water through pipes. There might not be signs warning of the potential dangers, but toxic agents can still be lurking in the water. When in doubt, choose to stay on land. 

Blue-green algae can be found in lakes, especially in warm summers. Once the algae start to multiply, a powdery green scum (bloom) forms on the lake’s surface. The scum is known to release toxins that are dangerous to humans and can be lethal to pets. Swimming in algal blooms can result in skin rashes, eye infections, acute gastrointestinal disruption, fever, muscle, and joint pain. 

Nearly all open-water swimming comes with risks, and swimmers should exercise caution when swimming in natural waterways. Always wash your hands before eating food after swimming in natural water, at minimum, and rinse off your entire body if possible. Open-water swimming in lakes, rivers, streams, ponds, and oceans can pose some risks beyond the hidden aspects of bacteria, bugs, parasites, algae, etc. Tides, currents, swells, and waves can be dangerous aspects of swimming in outdoor areas as well. 

Swimming pools are not perfect ecosystems; however, they properly disinfect the water with chlorine and maintain the correct pH to ensure it is safe. Injuries are less likely in pools, as lifeguards and safety equipment are virtually within reach. 


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Written by the digital marketing team at Creative Programs & Systems: https://www.cpsmi.com