Think twice before trusting chlorine to kill all of the germs in a pool or water park. Plus, summer picnic food dangers and a rise in the mosquito population are causing more health concerns. Infection preventionist, Bridget Boudreaux, with Lake Charles Memorial Hospital explains what's going around this week.
More children and teens are headed to swimming pools and water parks with the warmer weather, but that is also exposing them to contaminants that can spark gastrointestinal issues. "Anyone who's having any type of diarrhea or stomach issues whatsoever really shouldn't swim in public pools because those things can spread very easily from person-to-person," said Boudreaux, "you should really try your best not to put any of the waters in the pool into your mouth, because that's how many of those things are ingested and taken into your system."
One important thing to note is that chlorine cannot kill all viruses and bacteria in the water. When you factor in babies in swim diapers, those need to be changed frequently to keep bacteria at bay.
You might also be picnicking more this time of year. That can cause a rise in food-borne illnesses when food is not stored or served at proper temperatures. "Cold food should be kept below 40 degrees, hot food should be kept above 140 degrees, so those things should be packaged properly, cold things should be kept on ice," said Boudreaux, "once they are put out for everybody to enjoy, they shouldn't be left there for more than two hours or one hour if the temperature outside is greater than 90 degrees."
Some of the symptoms that come along with food-borne illnesses are nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
After a late winter, we are starting to see a surge in the mosquito population, making us more susceptible to contracting West Nile Virus. "The biggest concern would be a headache, fever, malaise, things like that," said Boudreaux, "there could also be many other issues and typically what it comes down to is the type of test that it requires to diagnose that, being through a spinal tap and the virus being identified."
The best prevention during West Nile season is to use a mosquito repellant with DEET and to cover your arms and legs when outdoors.