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Public Service Announcement

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Understanding beach water quality

Jul 08, 2013
Designated public beaches in our area are regularly sampled for bacteria by the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, but there’s more to understanding beach water quality – and making an informed decision about whether or not to swim – than lab results alone.

­­SIMCOE MUSKOKA – Designated public beaches in our area are regularly sampled for bacteria by the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, but there’s more to understanding beach water quality – and making an informed decision about whether or not to swim – than lab results alone.

In addition to being home to waterfowl and aquatic life, all open bodies of water naturally contain varying concentrations of bacteria, viruses and other organisms. If conditions are right, the levels of these organisms can rise and may pose an increased risk of developing minor skin, eye, ear, nose and throat infections and stomach disorders.

If lab results of beach water sampling suggest that a beach may present an increase risk to the public, a beach is posted with an advisory. If you choose to swim during an advisory, it may be prudent to avoid ducking your head or swallowing the water. An advisory is not a closure. 

It’s important to note that there is a delay in receiving lab results, so beach goers cannot rely only on lab results to know if it is safe to swim. Learn how to make an informed decision about beach water quality before swimming by checking www.simcoemuskokahealth.org. Active beach advisories and closures are also posted on the health unit’s website. 

 For more information or to speak with a public health professional about beach water quality, call Your Health Connection weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 705-721-7520 or toll free 1-877-721-7520.  


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