Take care when swimming in lakes and rivers

The Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) encourages Oklahomans to visit the state’s lakes, rivers, or streams and reminds citizens to follow some simple tips to help keep safe while swimming, boating, canoeing or enjoying other water activities.

Natural bodies of water, especially warm and stagnant water, can contain organisms that may cause illness.

Bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms can cause skin, eye and ear infections, respiratory infections, or gastrointestinal upset.

Illness can range from mild to severe. While some microorganisms occur naturally, others are carried into surface waters from a variety of sources.

The DEQ said Oklahomans should consider the following precautions to protect against water-borne sickness when recreating in natural waters with the state this summer:

  • Choose swimming areas carefully
  •  Pay attention to signage about water conditions
  •  Stay away from any area that has stagnant water, floating debris, scum, an oil-sheen, or dead fish
  •  Avoid swimming near storm drains Take simple precautions
  •  Hold nose or wear nose plugs when jumping into the water
  •  Avoid swallowing water when swimming
  •  Wear ear plugs to prevent ear infections
  •  Wear swim goggles or masks to prevent eye infections
  •  Wash skin with soap and water after swimming Prevent spread of illness to others
  •  Take children to the restroom frequently
  •  Use swim diapers on infants
  •  Rinse off prior to entering the water
  •  Avoid swimming if you are ill.