Healthy Swimming

​Prevention of Recreational Water Illness (RWIs)

Did you know that swimming is the second most popular exercise activity in the United States, with approximately 360 million annual visits to recreational water venues such as pools, spas, wading pools, water slides and other swimming places? Unfortunately, many people become ill after exposure to bacteria and viruses in these waters.  These illnesses are called Recreational Water Illnesses (RWIs).  The most commonly reported RWI is diarrhea. Diarrheal illnesses can be caused by bacteria and viruses such as Cryptosporid​ium​, Giardia​, Shigella, norovirus and E. coli O157:H7.

RWIs are increasing and there is low public awareness of the problem. In an effort to raise awareness, the Sacramento County Environmental Management Department conducts public outreach each summer to raise awareness ​about the potential for spread of recreational water illnesses.

Information to reduce RWIs

Recreational water illnesses are caused by bacteria spread by swallowing, breathing in mists or aerosols of, or having contact with contaminated water in swimming pools, hot tubs, water parks, water play areas, interactive fountains, lakes, rivers, or oceans. RWIs can include a wide variety of infections, including gastrointestinal, skin, ear, respiratory, eye, neurologic and wound infections.