July 5, 2008

Hot Water Makes Lakes Unsafe, Officials Say

By Arelis Hernandez, The Orlando Sentinel, Fla.


When water temperatures rise in lakes, it's time for you to get out, the Orange County Health Department warned. Officials say water users should avoid swimming or diving in freshwater ponds, lakes and rivers during periods of high temperature and low water depth, when conditions are perfect for deadly organisms. The Naegleria fowleri amoeba can live in any body of warm, stagnant freshwater and causes amebic meningoencephalitis, or brain swelling. It travels up the nose to the brain and spinal cord, destroying brain tissue and causing death. To protect yourself, either hold your nose shut or wear nose clips during water activities, including wakeboarding and waterskiing. Last year, three Central Florida children died from the organism.


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