Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

Local News

June 10, 2013

Area experts warn of potential swimming risks

As pools open and people head to area lakes, note these tips to stay safe

(Continued)

Stay hydrated and limit exposure to the sun, the site adds. Between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., always wear sunscreen with SPF of 15 or greater.

For more safety advice or information about the Red Cross safety courses, visit redcross.org.

BRA warns of potential river risk

In addition to basic safety concerns, swimmers along the Brazos River face the added potential risk of a rare but dangerous microorganism.

According to the Brazos River Authority, the primary amebic meningoencephalitis, or PAM, is an amoeba common in untreated fresh water and soil. Active in warm, slow-moving water, the PAM can cause an infection when forced into the nasal passages. Such instances typically occur when diving or water skiing.

When it reaches the brain and spinal cord, a PAM infection destroys brain tissue and usually kills the affected individual within a week.

Only 10 cases were reported in Texas between 2000 and 2010 and there have been no positive diagnoses in the state since 2011.

To reduce the possible threat, the BRA recommends using nose clips when jumping into water. Additionally, the agency discourages stirring up underwater sediment and warns individuals to take warning signs seriously.

Swimming pools and hot tubs, if properly maintained and cleaned, and salt water bodies are generally not at risk for PAM, according to the BRA. The microbe cannot be transferred from person to person through drinking water.

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