• English

    Google Translate Disclaimer

    The Maryland Department of Information Technology (“DoIT”) offers translations of the content through Google Translate. Because Google Translate is an external website, DoIT does not control the quality or accuracy of translated content. All DoIT content is filtered through Google Translate which may result in unexpected and unpredictable degradation of portions of text, images and the general appearance on translated pages. Google Translate may maintain unique privacy and use policies. These policies are not controlled by DoIT and are not associated with DoIT’s privacy and use policies. After selecting a translation option, users will be notified that they are leaving DoIT’s website. Users should consult the original English content on DoIT’s website if there are any questions about the translated content.

    DoIT uses Google Translate to provide language translations of its content. Google Translate is a free, automated service that relies on data and technology to provide its translations. The Google Translate feature is provided for informational purposes only. Translations cannot be guaranteed as exact or without the inclusion of incorrect or inappropriate language. Google Translate is a third-party service and site users will be leaving DoIT to utilize translated content. As such, DoIT does not guarantee and does not accept responsibility for, the accuracy, reliability, or performance of this service nor the limitations provided by this service, such as the inability to translate specific files like PDFs and graphics (e.g. .jpgs, .gifs, etc.).

    DoIT provides Google Translate as an online tool for its users, but DoIT does not directly endorse the website or imply that it is the only solution available to users. All site visitors may choose to use alternate tools for their translation needs. Any individuals or parties that use DoIT content in translated form, whether by Google Translate or by any other translation services, do so at their own risk. DoIT is not liable for any loss or damages arising out of, or issues related to, the use of or reliance on translated content. DoIT assumes no liability for any site visitor’s activities in connection with use of the Google Translate functionality or content.

    The Google Translate service is a means by which DoIT offers translations of content and is meant solely for the convenience of non-English speaking users of the website. The translated content is provided directly and dynamically by Google; DoIT has no direct control over the translated content as it appears using this tool. Therefore, in all contexts, the English content, as directly provided by DoIT is to be held authoritative.


    Swimming-Related Illness Fact Sheet

    PDF Version for this Fact Sheet

    Swimming in contaminated pools, hot tubs, water park attractions, decorative fountains, rivers, lakes, bays, and oceans can cause infections of the stomach and intestines (gastroenteritis), and skin (infectious dermatitis).    Less often, other areas of the body are affected by waterborne disease.  These include the ears, eyes, wounds, the respiratory tract, and the nervous system.

    Swimmers can get gastroenteritis from water contaminated by viruses, parasites, or bacteria.

    • Germs that cause gastroenteritis are shed in the feces of infected persons. Small amounts of feces that cannot be seen are present on everyone’s skin and get rinsed into the water.  This allows germs to spread even without having a fecal accident.  However, when an infected person has a fecal accident of diarrhea, the risk of spreading the illness to others is much higher.   People become ill when they swallow the germ-containing water, or put hands or objects contaminated with the water into their mouths. Contamination with germs from animals, sewage, and runoff is also possible and occurs more often in lakes and beaches.
    • Common causes of swimming-related gastroenteritis:
      • Viral:  Norovirus.  Causes vomiting and diarrhea.  Usually lasts 24-48 hours.
      • Parasites:  Giardia and Cryptosporidium.  Primarily cause diarrhea. More resistant to chlorination than others.  Cryptosporidium is the most common agent associated with treated swimming pool outbreaks.
      • Bacterial: Shigella and Escherichia coli.  Primarily cause diarrhea. Vibrio, can cause serious wound infections and illness. 

    See fact sheets on viral gastroenteritis, giardiasis, and cryptosporidiosis, shigellosis, and E. coli O157:H7 for more information about these diseases. Swimmers can also get gastroenteritis from other bacteria, viruses, and parasites.

    Dermatitis can be caused by chemicals such as too much chlorine in the water (chemical dermatitis) or by germs such as bacteria, viruses and fungi. A bacteria called Pseudomonas often causes infections in hot tubs, spas, and whirlpools

    • Pseudomonas causes an itchy rash over most of the body with bumps or blisters.
    • It can also cause a sore throat, nose, eyes or ears.
    • The rash will usually go away on its own.

    Swimming-related illnesses can be prevented:

    • Do not swim if experiencing diarrhea or an upset stomach.  If infected with Cryptosporidium or Giardia, do not swim for 2 weeks until after diarrhea has ended.
    • Do not let children with diarrhea enter a pool or wading pool.
    • Do not drink or swallow pool water.
    • Do not change diapers at poolside.
    • Take children to the bathroom often to prevent accidents.
    • Wash hands with soap and water after changing diapers or using the bathroom.
    • Shower with warm water and soap before entering the water.  Young children need to be washed thoroughly, especially the rear end.
    • Rinse off before getting into a swimming pool, wading pool, or hot tub.
    • Rinse off after leaving the “kiddie pool” before going into another pool.
    • Avoid swimming in pools with cloudy looking water or in pools that are not properly maintained.
    • Notify lifeguards or pool management of any feces in a pool.
    • Do not expose open wounds or cuts to ocean or bay water, especially if you have a weakened immune system or chronic liver disease.

    Pools stay clean by proper filtration and chlorine and pH levels, but chlorine does not kill all of the organisms that can cause infections.