Routine tests for bacteria near beaches is a concern for states. The key is to find the source of the bacteria. The source could be the results of a broken sewer line, rain water washing fecal material onto the beach, people not disposing of trash properly and the list goes on.
Finding the source is really quite a monumental task. The best advice is to take precautions for yourself to guard against you health. Here are some suggestions courtesy of Virginia Department of Health
You can help to protect your health while swimming at the beach by taking these simple steps:
- Observe Swimming Advisories; do not enter the water at a beach under a swimming advisory.
- Avoid swallowing water when swimming; natural waters may contain disease-causing organisms that can cause gastrointestinal illness if swallowed.
- Avoid swimming for a few days after heavy rainfall; bacteria levels are likely to be high and disease-causing organisms are more likely to be present after rainfall due to pollution from land runoff and other sources.
- Prevent direct contact of cuts and open wounds with recreational water; natural waters may contain disease-causing organisms that may cause skin infections.
- Avoid swimming in areas where dead fish are present; dead fish may indicate that water conditions are poor or hazardous materials are in the water. Please contact the Department of
- Environmental Quality (703-583-3800) if you observe a fish kill. (Virginia)
- Don’t swim if you are ill or have a weakened immune system; some organisms are opportunistic and may only cause illness when you are already ill or your immune system is weakened.
- Shower with soap after swimming; showering helps remove potential disease-causing organisms.
- Swim away from fishing piers, pipes, drains, and water flowing from storm drains onto a beach.
- Do not dispose of trash, pet waste, or dirty diapers on the beach
Have a safe beach experience!
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