Health alert! Could the beach be making you sick?

Packing up the car and headin’ to the beach is one of the most exciting parts of summer time, but recent studies have shown that it can also be more dangerous than we think. According to the 23rd annual Beach Water Quality Report released by the Natural Resources Defense Council, beaches across the U.S. had more than 20,000 closing and advisory days in 2012 because of water pollution or contamination threats. And what are those closings from and advisories from? Unsafe levels of bacteria in the water. Yuck! 

Although many beach managers are unaware of why these oceans are getting so gross, they are able to pinpoint one main source of contamination – storm water. Think about it. When there is a big storm, the excess water runs into streams and rivers, which eventually makes it way into the oceans. All that nasty stuff that the storm water picks up along the way gets washed into the ocean too, causing bacteria to end up in the ocean only a day or two after a storm.

But how is this bacteria infested water getting us sick? Well, when that contaminated beach water gets into your body, it can cause tons of different water-borne illnesses. While some of these illnesses may just be annoying, there’s also the risk of them being much more serious.

Make sure that your beach water is at the pollution level allowed by the EPA for safe swimming. The lower below the limit the water is, the safer it is to swim. But hey even if it is at a safe level, our advice is to stay out of the water for about a day after it rains. It’s not worth the sickness for those couple hours in the water. If you do decide to get in, make sure you are conscious about any open wounds you have, and, uh, letting the water get into your mouth. Bring your own bottle of water, maybe?

What's your favorite summer swimming hole, sistahs? Tell us in the comments! 

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by Katie Takacs | 2/1/2016
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