The official first day of summer is Thursday and naturally more people are planning trips to the beach.
But some of our local beaches are advising swimmers to hold off before they jump in the water because what’s in it could make you sick.
“It’s odd because the surface water standards are kind of different than drinking water standards, so if you’re drinking water no E. coli can be present, it can make you sick, even just one colony,” says Carmen Thiel with UW Oshkosh.
Environmental researchers like Carmen with UW Oshkosh spend their time testing local waters to always have a running list of what bacteria is floating around.
That information is shared online where the public can decide if they want to take a dip, but some beach dwellers say that information needs to be shared with everyone.
“I think that’s a huge concern and definitely some health factors going on there if you want to the water,” says beach goer Kerri Salazar. “I would definitely want to know and didn’t realize that that’s was actually going on.”
E. coli can cause nausea, diarrhea and dehydration.
But the bacteria is spread by the ones who spend the most time near the water.
“Seagulls are a source of fecal matter, dogs, raccoons, and people,” says Thiel.
And mother nature sometimes can add to the problem.
“When we have these large rain storms like we did this week, all the storm water is basically flushing into the water at one time, causing these hikes in E. coli,” she says.
So for the time being, make a splash – but at your own risk.
“I would definitely come to the beach, but I would just be cautious and stay out of the water and still enjoy the same benefits of hearing the waves,” says Salazar.
To find out if your local beach has high levels of E. coli click here.