Play at our own Risk
As our temperatures rise, so does the risk of a potentially dangerous disease. The Florida Department of Health is warning swimmers to be aware of what's in the water, even those things that are invisible.
For children, the summer months are a time of rest and relaxation, but it may also include some risks. The recent hot temperatures make freshwater lakes and ponds ripe for amoeba and because of this, the state's health department is warning the public. "They feed on bacteria so where you get an increase in the number of bacteria in the water, you can conclude there is an abundant of this amoeba," says Anthony Dennis from the Alachua County Health Department
Infection occurs when the amoeba enters the body through the nose and travels to the brain and spinal cord. But that isn't stopping one mother from letting her daughter and friend swim in Poe Springs. "We have to teach our kids to be able to enjoy life and be cautious, but we have to live," says mother Schelley Zuelke.
There are some precautions that can aid in reducing the possibility of infection. Wear nose clips while swimming, jumping or diving into the water. Don't swim in warm, stagnant freshwater and avoid digging in or stirring up the bottom, that could lead to the unnecessary spreading of the amoeba.
Symptoms initially include a headache, fever, nausea and a stiff neck. If you feel any of those after swimming, the health department says you should see a doctor. The disease progresses rapidly and can result in death within three to seven days.
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