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Whats in the water?


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#1 brannon67

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Posted 19 November 2014 - 01:40 PM

Everytime you guys go to a stream, river, spring, lake, etc, are you aware, or are you leary of what organisms, microorganism, bacteria that could be in the water?. I know some of that stuff, if it gets in you, can kill you. I know Florida has a problem with bad orginasims in the water sometimes, after floods, etc, that causes sickness and or death in extreme cases.

#2 Sean Phillips

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Posted 19 November 2014 - 02:52 PM

I know that stuffs there but as long as it's not lethal I don't let it stop me. I snorkel probably 50-60 times over the year and dive about 20 times a year and have had multiple occasions (many snorkeling) where I've come up with some red rash all over me, doesn't hurt or itch, just there and I don't know what it is. Most people would let that stop them from snorkeling but as long as it doesn't harm me I just ignore it.
Sean Phillips - Pine Creek Watershed - Allegheny River Drainage

#3 brannon67

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Posted 19 November 2014 - 03:06 PM

Some places put signs up warning people about bacteria in the water, etc. I know Morrison Springs in Florida does when they are flooded out, or I guess when they test the water, and the bug is there for some reason.... Thats scary....

#4 Michael Wolfe

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Posted 19 November 2014 - 07:12 PM

I do not worry much about it if there is a healthy fish population and clear water. Most places that I have snorkeled are fast moving streams or rivers. Also many are rather cool mountain streams.
Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. - Benjamin Franklin

#5 Josh Blaylock

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Posted 20 November 2014 - 08:05 AM

There are some serious bacteria in the freshwater's of the U.S. It seems more are found in the warm/still water areas of the US (deep south), which makes sense. However, there are bacteria in the ocean too, but people just right in it without a second thought.

I'd say, use common sense. If a waterway looks nasty, don't get in without proper gear. If it is clean, and what Michael said, there is a healthy fish population, then you're probably ok. Also, if you have a big open cut/gash on your body... let it heal before you get in. Usually, bacteria needs an opening to infect your body. So don't have open wounds and close your mouth :)

Josh Blaylock - Central KY
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#6 Duktig

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Posted 20 November 2014 - 10:38 AM

Unless you are immune compromised, this shouldn't be a great concern. Obviously, the intake of untreated / wild water is to be discouraged.

To which organisms do you refer? enteric bacteria are not uncommon after flooding, but not part of the natural microfauna.

#7 UncleWillie

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Posted 20 November 2014 - 02:24 PM

Like many others on here, I've done lots of snorkeling and the only time I've ever been concerned is when I am in south Georgia snorkeling for mussels. I've come out of water covered in leeches, but that doesn't freak me out as much as the stuff you CAN'T see. We got in a habit of bringing an old contact solution bottle that we filled up with 50:50 hydrogen peroxide and rubbing alcohol while in the field. When we left the stream for the day we all squirted that stuff in the ears and noses. Does it work? Maybe. Maybe not, but it sure gives you a rush if you need to wake up after a long day of grubbing.

Willie Pruitt
Chattahoochee River, GA


#8 NotCousteau

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Posted 20 November 2014 - 03:20 PM

Unfortunately, we have had at least two children die in recent years in Minnesota from amoebas contracted at lakes. Like others have said, it seems that only the young, old and immune-compromised are at high risk.

#9 don212

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Posted 20 November 2014 - 10:59 PM

amoebas usually are injected from jumping off bridges, water skiing etc, a warm soapy shower after can help avoid bacterial skin infections, and ear drops are good to eliminate water in ear canal, even clean water can start an infection if it stays in your ears,

#10 NotCousteau

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Posted 20 November 2014 - 11:57 PM

That's very true, don212. The Minnesota incidents involved popular recreational lakes with a lot of swimming and boating. The lake culture is huge up here.

#11 harryknaub

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Posted 21 November 2014 - 11:15 AM

I think that swimming lakes are probably the worst for these bacterial infections. Where I lived in PA, we had a man-made lake named after the visionary Gifford Pinchot. It was located at a state park, also named after Pinchot. Like many of these bodies of water, the swimming area had a sand beach with no tree cover. After all, who wants to walk through leaves, needles, or burrs in your bare feet. So, you had a bunch of people in a semi-confined swimming area and no cover to keep to the water from heating up. Add to this the fact that the lake was kept well stocked with medium and large predatory game fish for recreation and had a sizable resident Canada Goose population. No wonder that the lake would be closed to swimming several times every year due to elevated bacteria levels. There was no way I'd get in that water. Although looking back, I can't believe my parents took me swimming at that lake when I was a little kid. Maybe that's why I turned into a rebellious teenager.
between the Waccamaw and the ocean

#12 don212

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Posted 22 November 2014 - 07:48 PM

when i was little there were no canada geese around, one way to successful conservation project

#13 mikez

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Posted 23 November 2014 - 06:20 PM

This is a good topic. I confess I skim read most of the replies but I get the feeling this is not a subject taken as seriously as it should.

There are some seriously nasty bugs that we as snorklers, dipnetters and aquarium keepers need to be aware of. It is a subject worth some google time, I'm too hurried to spell it for you.

In short, I'd discourage swimming or digging into nets full of muck with open cuts. I don't care how clean the water looks or how healthy the fish are. If you get a serious cut, scrape or puncture in the water, I suggest you stop and go clean it with the peroxide or iodine you have in your first aid kit [got one, right?]. If the water is mucky, I will follow up at home with 3 in one anti-biotic ointment.

I work in wastewater and do sampling and testing of water ways which receive wastewater effluent [every moving stream in the US]. I take my own safety serious and have studied up on it. I also had an in depth discussion on pathogens in general and ones we might find in the real world which left me uneasy, to say the least. Don't want to scare you, but... Be Scared!
Mike Zaborowski
I don't know, maybe it was the roses.

#14 guyswartwout

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Posted 23 November 2014 - 06:27 PM

I'm not that familiar with Florida, but maybe the bacteria count is down in the Fall/Winter with cooler temps and less run-off?

Also, I'm curious about the rash Sean. Were you wearing a wetsuit?

#15 mikez

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Posted 23 November 2014 - 06:53 PM

Ewww, wetsuit rashes suck. That's why I hate renting my suit. :-(

Mike Zaborowski
I don't know, maybe it was the roses.

#16 don212

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Posted 24 November 2014 - 09:31 AM

yes, in the summer here hot freshwater, breeds amoebas, amoeba infection is rare but often fatal, usually from jumping off bridges, or crashing while water skiing, crystal river's public beach often has warnings about some nonlethal bacteria, i try to avoid it because i have gotten skin rashes, and ear infections there, i think the lyngbya algae is also a contributor, sometimes i do swim at hunter springs, but i always shower right after
I'm not that familiar with Florida, but maybe the bacteria count is down in the Fall/Winter with cooler temps and less run-off?

Also, I'm curious about the rash Sean. Were you wearing a wetsuit?

y



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