- Office of Food Protection
People can get sick from swimming in, or swallowing, polluted water. Fortunately, while swimming-related illnesses are unpleasant, they usually are not very serious and require little or no treatment. The most common illness is gastroenteritis, an inflammation of the stomach and the intestines that can cause symptoms like vomiting, headaches, and fever. Other minor illnesses include ear, eye and throat infections. You are more likely to get sick if you swim at a closed beach or one that has not been tested for contaimation. Swimmers can sometimes be exposed to more serious diseases like salmonella.
People can get rashes simply from getting polluted water on their skin or in their eyes. In rare cases, swimmers can develop illnesses or infections if an open wound is exposed to polluted water.
Not all illnesses from a day at the beach are from swimming. Food poisoning from improperly-refrigerated picnic lunches may also have some of the same symptoms as swimming-related illnesses.
You have been to a beach and have any of the following symptoms:
You suspect that your illness resulted from swimming at a public beach and would like to submit a complaint. ( Beach Program)