How has summer been so far?

Did you go on vacation? Make the family picnic? Take the road trip? If you did – how did it go? Were you able to stay healthy? I know many patients who ended up in the hospital- sure hope you weren’t one of them.

Over the 4th of July week- over 200 people got sick on the lake where I live – Lake Minnetonka. The department of health was never able to determine what the cause of the illness was. It made people really sick. My oldest son got it too. It was NOT e-coli. However- many of the smaller beaches on our lake were closed due to E-Coli. It was so darn hot in Minnesota- we broke 100 year old records – just like the rest of the country.

A beach water safety study claimed that 60% of the 4,523 beaches in the US tested positive for fecal content. UGH! Most of the time, the levels were not high enough to put swimmers at risk of illness. I don’t know about you – I don’t want to swim in poop. Especially being immunocompromised. UGH again. Some of this can be explained by climate change. The water temp is just too darn HOT! Just like the air.

Water contamination

The beaches most affected were in California, Florida and the Great Lakes. I’ve been reading about outbreaks in Rhode Island, North Carolina- just about everywhere there’s a beach.

In Florida- along the Gulf of Mexico- they had 12 cases of flesh-eating bacteria- 3 people died. Again- blamed on climate change. The majority of ocean beaches are closed due to e-coli.

I remember when first diagnosed with PI, my Immunologist told me not to swim in oceans and lakes after a rainfall or storm because of run-off.

Pools seem to be the safest. Chlorine is checked and regulated. Just make sure the diapers don’t get full.

What are the most common waterborne diseases?

The number 1 type is Crypto ( Cryptosporidium). In fact – 60% of all cases are crypto. Unlike other pathogens- this one can live in chlorine for over 7 days. And, did I mention – this one LOVES immunocompromised people.

2. Shigella – most closely resembles e-coli.

3. Legionella- self explanatory

4. Pseudomonas – again – they LOVE immunocompromised. They are environmental and can be found in soil, water and plants.


5. Norovirus – very common – contaminated food or water.

Public pool viruses and contaminated water as a waterborne disease risk as a 3D illustration.

How can we avoid these and stay healthy- and still have SUMMER FUN?

  1. Avoid swimming in treated, murky water – especially if it has an oder
  2. Check those diapers – especially in pools
  3. Kids younger than 5 should not use Hot Tubs
  4. Persons with an infection that includes diarrhea should stay out of water for at least 1 week after it resolves
  5. Swim warnings should be headed
  6. Shower BEFORE using pool or hot tub
  7. Swimmers with open wounds should use waterproof bandages
  8. PLEASE – do NOT swallow pool, ocean or lake water

Stay healthy

I’m definitely NOT trying to scare you. Just want to inform you of what’s lurking out there. Please be safe, informed and careful. Summer won’t last much longer.

Countdown to start of school.



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