DEQ offers tips to avoid water borne  illnesses at lakes, rivers, streams

Many Oklahomans get the urge to visit the lake during the Labor Day weekend. 

It's one of the last last long weekends of the summer and the weather is usually warm enough for swimming, fishing and boating. 

However, no one wants to take home a souvenir in the form of infections or illness. 

The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) advises those who plan to enjoy Oklahoma's waters to take precaution. 

"Natural bodies of water, especially warm and stagnant water, can contain organisms that may cause illness.  Bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms can cause skin, eye, and ear infections, respiratory infections, or gastrointestinal upset.  Illness can range from mild to severe. While some microorganisms occur naturally, others are carried into surface waters from a variety of sources," a release from DEQ said.  

DEQ released the following guidelines: 

Choose swimming areas carefully: 

Pay attention to signage about water conditions

Stay away from any area that has stagnant water, floating debris, scum, an oil sheen, or dead fish

Avoid swimming near storm drains

Do not swim in flooded areas

Take simple precautions

Hold nose or wear nose plugs when jumping into the water

Avoid swallowing water when swimming

Wear ear plugs to prevent ear infections

Wear swim goggles or masks to prevent eye infections

Wash skin with soap and water after swimming

Prevent spread of illness to others

Take children to the restroom frequently

Use swim diapers on infants

Rinse off prior to entering the water

Avoid swimming if you are ill

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