Health department: Avoid swimming at public beaches and private pools

Published: October 6, 2022 2:41 PM EDT
Updated: October 7, 2022 10:02 AM EDT
[FILE PHOTO] A health advisory is still in effect at Bonita Beach Park. (CREDIT: WINK News)

The Florida Department of Health in Lee County (DOH-Lee) has issued a countywide precautionary swim advisory for all public beaches and swimming pools.

DOH-Lee is advising the public not to enter the water due to the possible increase of waterborne illnesses. The water quality has been affected by Hurricane Ian and at this time, swimming is not recommended.

Residents and visitors should avoid swimming in any pool until it has been properly cleaned and it fully functional.

A fully functional pool has:

  • been cleared of debris
  • functioning recirculation and chemical treatment equipment
  • life-saving equipment that is available and operational
  • clear water
  • properly balanced chemicals

For public beaches:

Residents are urged to avoid contact with floodwater which from an overflow of any waterbody from rivers, lakes or oceans.

Floodwater may contain fecal matter from sewage systems and septic tanks in addition to agricultural and industrial waste. Entering the water may pose an increased risk of disease or illness, particularly for immunocompromised individuals.

Floodwaters can also mask debris, downed power lines and other hazards.

DOH recommends the following precautions after hurricanes:

  • Follow basic hygiene. Always wash your hands with soap and clean water which has either been disinfected or boiled then cooled, or with commercially bottled water, before eating and after toilet use.
  • Do not allow children to play in floodwater. They can be exposed to contaminated water that can cause illness.
  • Do not allow children to play with toys that have been in floodwater until the toys have been properly disinfected. Use 1/4 cup of bleach in one gallon of water to disinfect toys and other items exposed to floodwaters.
  • If you have open cuts or sores, stay out of floodwaters, or wear protective coverings. If open wounds have been exposed to floodwaters, keep them as clean as possible by washing them with soap and clean water.
  • Apply antibiotic cream to reduce the risk of infection. If a wound or sore develops redness, swelling, or drainage, seek medical attention.
  • After helping in cleanup activities and after handling items contaminated by floodwater or sewage, wash hands thoroughly with soap and water.