Recreational water illnesses (RWI) are caused by bacteria that may be contracted by ingesting, inhaling, or coming into touch with polluted water found in pools, hot tubs, water slides, water parks, and active fountains, rivers, lakes, or oceans. Compounds in the water or chemicals that evaporate from the water and affect indoor air quality may potentially contribute to RWIs. RWIs may include many infections, such as gastrointestinal tract, skin, ear, respiratory system, eyes, neurologic system, and wounds.

Pregnant women, children, and those with weakened immune systems (such as those with AIDS, organ transplant recipients, or those through some forms of chemotherapy) are at higher risks of RWI. Individuals with weakened immune systems must know that recreational water may have Cryptosporidium or Crypto-infected human or animal excrement. In those with low immune systems, crypto may result in a life-threatening infection.


When recreational water illnesses (RWI) are developed, they may cause various symptoms affecting the ear, stomach, skin, and eyes, among other body parts. The typical signs include:

  • fever
  • Vomiting
  • Body Rashes
  • Cold
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach Pain
  • Ear Pain


Based on the patient’s symptoms, a doctor may diagnose recreational water illnesses (RWI). Doctors may also need to determine if a patient has contracted an illness from contaminated oceans, pools, or bathtubs.


Recreational water illnesses (RWI) therapy might differ depending on whether the infection is a bacterium, virus, or parasite. Antibiotics may treat bacterial RWIs, whereas antiparasitic medicines and antibiotics can treat parasitic RWIs. Others, such as norovirus, will go away independently, requiring supportive treatment to minimize diarrhea or avoid dehydration. Moreover, antibiotic ear drops or acetic acid drops may be used to treat swimmers’ ears.

On the other hand, prevention is vital to reduce the number of persons with recreational water illnesses (RWI) and your own risks of acquiring one. There are a few simple things you can do to prevent RWIs:

  • Take a bath with soap before and after swimming, and keep your hands clean.
  • If you or a family member has diarrhea, do not go swimming.
  • When utilizing recreational water facilities, bring your kids to the restroom frequently.
  • Do not drink pool or contaminated natural water from a lake or stream.
  • Avoid swimming pools and hot tubs if you have open wounds or sores.
  • To dry your ears when bathing or swimming, dry them thoroughly or use earplugs.

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