Swimmers heading to some Ohio beaches on Wednesday found signs warning them of elevated levels of E. coli.
The Ohio Department of Health monitors bathing beaches at all inland state parks and recommends signs warn swimmers when E. coli levels are beyond the state limit, 10TV's Brittany Westbrook reported.
SPECIAL SECTION: E. coli Section
"When we get a negative read we post signs letting the public know that the water quality has E. coli potential hazards," said Jayne Dudgeon with Delaware State Park. "It is swim at your own risk."
On July 10 beach water at Delaware State Park had an E. coli reading at more than twice the state limit, Westbrook reported.
“At Delaware State Park, specifically, we have two rivers that flow into the lake,” Dudgeon said. “When we have rainfall those rivers flow into the lake and that carries with it some of the bacteria that's farther up on the lake.”
10TV looked at E. coli levels at other parks and found that Alum Creek beach water tested well under the limit on July 2, but in early June E. coli levels were three-times the state limit.
A test later in June revealed that Alum Creek water was lower in E. coli, but still twice the state's limit, Westbrook reported.
In June, readings at Buckeye Lake's Fairfield Beach came in at 25-times the state standard. Brooks Park beach water also tested high, at more than four-times the state limit, Westbrook reported.
However, in late June both beaches tested under the limit.
According to the Ohio Department of Health, E. coli levels fluctuate with rainfall.
People who decide to swim despite advisories should refrain from putting their head under and avoid swallowing any water. They should also shower as soon as they leave the beach.
While the strain of E. coli found in water is different from the strain found in food, symptoms of the illness include abdominal pain and diarrhea. In severe cases, respiratory illness and pneumonia can occur.
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