Recreational Water Illnesses (RWIs) (cont.)

Who is Most Likely to Get Ill from a Recreational Water Illness (RWI)?

Children, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems (for example, people living with AIDS, individuals who have received an organ transplant, or people receiving certain types of chemotherapy) can suffer from more severe illness if infected. People with weakened immune systems should be aware that recreational water might be contaminated with human or animal feces containing Crypto. Crypto can cause a life-threatening infection in persons with weakened immune systems.

People with a weakened immune system should consult their health care provider before participating in activities that place them at risk for illness.

How Can We Prevent Recreational Water Illnesses (RWIs)?

Reader Stories

Six Steps for Healthy Swimming

Following these healthy swimming steps will help to protect you, your family, and other swimmers from recreational water illnesses (RWIs):

Three Steps for All Swimmers

Keep germs from causing recreational water illnesses (RWIs):

  1. Don't swim when you have diarrhea. You can spread germs in the water and make other people sick.
  2. Don't swallow the pool water. Avoid getting water in your mouth.
  3. Practice good hygiene. Shower with soap before swimming and wash your hands after using the toilet or changing diapers. Germs on your body end up in the water.

Three Steps for Parents of Young Kids

Keep germs out of the pool:

  1. Take your kids on bathroom breaks or check diapers often. Waiting to hear "I have to go" may mean that it's too late.
  2. Change diapers in a bathroom or a diaper-changing area and not at poolside. Germs can spread in and around the pool.
  3. Wash your child thoroughly (especially the rear end) with soap and water before swimming. Invisible amounts of fecal matter can end up in the pool.

Medically reviewed by Martin E Zipser, MD; American board of Surgery

SOURCE: Recreational Water Illnesses (RWIs).

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/7/2014

Patient Comments

Viewers share their comments

Recreational Water Illnesses - Sources Question: If known, where did you contract your recreational water illness (RWI)? Please share your experience.
Recreational Water Illnesses - Chlorine Question: What types of pool chemicals do you use? Has anyone ever gotten an RWI from your pool or spa?
Recreational Water Illnesses - Prevention Question: In what ways do you try to prevent RWIs? Please describe your experience.