Underwater Dangers

The risks of playing in, swimming in, and drinking water found in lakes, rivers, and ponds.

HealthThere are few things more relaxing than getting out for a day on the water. From fishing at a nearby river, skiing on the lake, and swimming in your neighbor’s pond, spending time on and in the water is a pastime like no other. Unfortunately, that water isn’t always just fun and games. Lurking beneath the surface of your favorite pond, lake, and river are all sorts of frightening things that are waiting to get you. Should you be worried? Read on to find out.

Dangers Explained

In a body of water, there is a constant cycle of life and death taking place. While most dying plants and animals are consumed by fish, turtles, and other water creatures, some will rot for a long period, emitting all kinds of unpleasantness into the water. At the same time, all of the live animals are busy using the water as their personal bathroom. A few centuries ago, this ecologically sound grossness wasn’t too dangerous. But as people have purposefully or accidentally put harmful substances in the water, that has all changed.

One of the most feared bacteria, E. coli is frequently found in waters used for recreation. Water parasites also live in some of your favorite water playgrounds (including chlorinated pools), and the dreadful bacteria botulism can be found in practically any body of water. And there are the very real manmade dangers of toxins produced by a number of factories that produce toxic chemicals that get released into the air or are even deposited in bodies of water.

Along with bacteria and toxins, large bodies of water may experience some turbulence. Regardless of how strong a swimmer you may be or how great a boat you’re driving, water turbulence can put you at incredible risk for drowning.

Safety Tips

The best way to keep unwanted pathogens and toxins in the water and out of your body is to stay out of polluted waters. Since it is virtually impossible to find any perfectly clean water, you may want a different option. If you can’t keep out of the water, always keep your mouth and eyes closed when swimming. You should also avoid excessively warm water, as warmer water breeds more dangerous bacterium, such as botulism.

With regards to drowning safety, always wear an appropriate life vest. You should also be aware of dam release schedules so you’ll know when the water is going to start getting more dangerous. Any time the waters are turbulent, do the smart thing and stay away.

Just in Case

So you’ve done everything necessary to stay safe in the water, but someone in your group has wound up with stomach pains, fever, or vomiting, and you’re unsure what to do. Since the problem could be from any number of bacteria and toxins, the best first step is to seek medical attention as soon as possible. While the person with the troublesome symptoms probably won’t suffer any long-term consequences, you’re better off playing it safe.

Drink It Up

In addition to the water found in lakes, ponds, and rivers, there are occasionally dangers associated with the water that comes shooting out of your kitchen sink. While tap water is usually closely regulated to protect against harmful substances from seeping in, you should be wary of water that contains any of the following:

  • bacteria
  • lead
  • nitrate
  • viruses

To find out if your drinking water contains any of the above, contact your local water provider. If your drinking water comes out of a well or other non-regulated source, you can purchase water testing kits that will help you determine the various agents at work in your water source, notifying you of whether you should be concerned or if you are free to drink without fear.

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Is Eight Glasses of Water Enough?

HealthA significant part of your body is made up of water. In addition to a large part of your body being made up of water, several daily body functions use water. Don’t think water deserves so much credit? Consider these wet-and-wild facts.

  • In a day, your lungs expel about two to four cups of water just through normal breathing (even more on a cold day).
  • You can lose up to a cup of water if your feet sweat.
  • In just six trips to the bathroom a day, you can lose about six cups of water.
  • Your body can expel about two cups of water a day if you perspire (and that doesn’t include exercise-induced sweat).

For these reasons and many more, it’s obvious that you need to replenish your body with liquids regularly.

How to Do It

Okay, so if your body is losing all of this water every day, what do you have to do to replenish it? The best thing you can do is drink a little bit of water all day long. Try sipping down about four ounces of water every hour when you’re awake. Take a water bottle with you when you’re driving, grab a glass of water before you sit down in front of the television, and bring something to drink when you go to that marathon meeting during your workday. If you don’t like the taste of water, try drinking extremely cold water or twist a lemon or lime in your water. If none of those options sound good, other liquids such as diluted fruit juices, skim milk, coffee, and diet soft drinks also provide the liquid your body needs.

Now that you know how to get the water your body needs, let’s talk about how much water your body needs. Many experts say that drinking between 8 and 10 glasses of water a day is a good rule of thumb. However, other factors, such as your body size, your body type (muscle holds more water than fat), your activity level, your age, and your diet, all play into the amount of water your body needs. If you have any questions about how much water your body needs or if you experience any symptoms of dehydration, touch base with your physician.

When You’re Not Getting Enough to Drink

Dehydration is one of the most common ways your body lets you know it’s not getting enough water. When dehydration occurs, your body has lost more fluids than it has taken in. This condition is not often life-threatening, but it can have serious consequences in babies and older adults. Symptoms of dehydration include feeling dizzy or lightheaded, having a dry or sticky feeling in your mouth, or producing less urine. If you experience any of these symptoms, take a moment to rest and get a drink. It’s also a good idea to get out of the sun and relax for the rest of the day. If symptoms continue, contact your physician.

Here’s the bottom line: your body needs water and it needs it every day, so try to keep a water bottle close by and refill it often. Your body will thank you for it.

H2O in Your F-O-O-D

Thankfully for the water haters out there, water can be found in a variety of places beyond the sink-including your dinner. The following are just a few of the foods that have high water content:

  • apples
  • broccoli
  • cantaloupe
  • carrots
  • celery
  • cooked cereal
  • cottage cheese
  • gelatin
  • grapes
  • grapefruit
  • iceberg lettuce
  • oranges
  • radishes
  • rice
  • soup
  • strawberries
  • tomatoes
  • tuna
  • watermelon
  • yogurt
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