Recreational Water Illnesses on Rivers

I used to kiss fish
until I learned about nice little critters like giardia. I always boil my water on float trips.

Lake Wylie, SC
Two ear infections and one eye infection in one year trying to learn the roll. I now use this lake with great caution. Darn shame

Anti bacterial ointment, yes!
The two articles made me realize that I need to carry a small tube of anti-bacterial in my tiny first aid kit (for day paddling). I’m not an alarmist about small scrapes and raw insect bites, but it’s sobering to read that some PNetters – not just people in news stories – have had infections.

it’s here in MI
in inland lakes all across the state, so I’d assume the same for Canada.

be aware of the water quality
Where you paddle. I am a volunteer water quality monitor in Tx and my areas to test are on the Trinity in Dallas. Water quality can vary greatly from section to section and from day to day depending on a lot of variables.

We test for e coli as do most states and use it as a meter for the suitability for fish consumption and contact recreation. If you paddle on rivers lakes or streams in most metropolitan areas, chances are that there are elevated levels of bacteria to contend with.

If city storm drains empty into a river or stream, chances are that human and animal waste and fertilizer run-off will end up in the river. Thats where a lot of the bacterias get started.

Most states keep some records on bacteria levels, so its not too tough to find the info.

All that being said, you can still enjoy urban rivers if you take some precautions, like not practicing your rolls, keeping any cuts or sores covered and dry and definitely showering as soon as possible especially if you have been sitting in your kayak in a puddle of water. The Vagisil is a great idea for ladies. Having been hospitalized for a bacterial infection courtesy of the Trinity, I take it pretty seriously, especially since I got mine on a section that is considered ok.

recreational water borne illnesses
I get them all the time. Mostly I suffer from workitis, restless bad pad syndrome, and I can’t waititis as in the next trip.