Local News

Protect Your Family From E-coli this Summer

Posted May 29, 1999 7:00 a.m. EDT

— It's the unofficial start of summer and many water parks are opening this weekend. Record numbers of visitors are expected at the nation's water parks this year, but are your kids at risk?

Last year, 26 children became sick, some severely, from E-coli 0157H7 after playing at the White Water Park near Atlanta. State health experts blame fecal contamination in the water.

Researchers at theCenters for Disease Control and Preventionsay the risk for contracting any disease from properly maintained swimming pools is low.

Parents should not allow a child to swim if he has diarrhea, no matter how old the child is. They should also teach children to not drink pool water. Those who became sick from E-coli in Atlanta had swallowed the bacterium.

Parents should not change diapers at pool side or rinse hands in pool water after changing a diaper.

Several generations have used chlorine as a backup disinfectant, although, there are some germs that can not be killed by chlorine.

Another tip to keep in mind when at the pool is to make sure the water is crystal clear before allowing your kids to swim. Foggy water is an indication the chlorine is interacting with other chemicals and not killing germs.

These tips may help, but keep in mind, E-coli outbreaks are linked to under-cooked or raw hamburger meat as well. That means you'll have to be vigilant in the kitchen this summer too.