Water-borne diseases in Washington recreational waters infect people each year. Recent trends show that up to three outbreaks are reported annually with cases of only a couple people to hundreds, according to the Washington Department of Health.

One of the most important ways to steer clear of these diseases is to simply keep your mouth closed so you don’t swallow the water. Ingesting the water is the major way waterborne diseases enter your body.

Stomach and intestinal illnesses that can occur in lakes and rivers include Giardia , E. Coli and Norovirus. Diarrhea is the most common thing to watch for with these diseases and then avoid swimming when you have this symptom.

Skin irritations that can occur from rivers are Cyanobacteria (or Blue-Green Algae)and possibly Swimmers Itch.

Matt Cardy