VDH warning of potentially dangerous water conditions ahead of possible severe weather

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RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – If you’re thinking of taking a dip in Virginia’s waterways, the Virginia Department of Health says you may want to rethink.

Health leaders say with the threat of Tropical Storm Fred and this week’s past storms, waterways could be dangerous for recreational water activities.

Heavy rains can increase the chance of animal waste and untreated wastewater getting into rivers, lakes and streams.

Bacteria, debris and pollutants in rainwater runoff can pose a risk to your health and safety.

Related coverage: VDH advises no swimming in the James River after sewage main bursts in Goochland

VDH says the most common illnesses from contaminated water are gastrointestinal illnesses which can cause vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, abdominal pain or fever. In addition, contamination can cause upper respiratory and skin infections.

If you do plan on spending time on the water after heavy rain, VDH has some safety tips:

  • Avoid getting water in your mouth, and never swallow it from an untreated source.
  • Don’t swim if you have broken skin.
  • Shower with soap and water and spending time in natural waters.
  • Don’t swim if you are sick.
  • Avoid swimming if dead fish are in the area.
  • Use extreme caution if you encounter covered roads or fast-moving water. It may be deeper than you think.

For more information on water safety, you can visit the health department’s site here.

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