Swimmers Warned Of E.Coli Contamination At Area Lakes

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UPDATED: Wednesday May 28, 2014 6:36 PM

The warm weather has all of us looking for ways to cool down.

But before you take the family out to the lake, you might want to double-check that it is safe to swim there.

"We've just been swimming and laying out and stuff,” London resident Andrew Joos said of his Wednesday afternoon visit to Madison Lake.

He and his friends were enjoying the Madison County beach despite the fact state health officials say it is contaminated by E. coli bacteria.

"I figure if you just go home and wash off, you should be all right,” Joos said.

But not everyone is risking the water.

"I have some health issues with a low immune system, so I take those things seriously,” said Rachel O’Connor, a mother of four who was enjoying Madison Lake State Park with her kids and friends.

She says she will let her kids get near the water but not in it.

Even then, she says she will be washing their hands.

"Even if there aren't advisories, there's always a risk,” O’Connor said. “But if there's an advisory, it's there for a reason."

Madison Lake is not the only area lake with high levels of E. coli bacteria.

State officials have posted warning signs at four other central Ohio beaches - Alum Creek, Buckeye Lake, Dillon State Park and Scioto Trail State Park.

The Ohio Department of Health is blaming run-off from recent heavy rains for the high bacteria counts.
"We only post advisories, so the public can make their own informed decision as to whether or not they're going to recreate there,” said Mary Clifton with the Ohio Department of Health.

Clifton says exposing yourself to the E. coli bacteria can lead to gastrointestinal issues such as diarrhea and vomiting.

She says if you do decide to get in the water, take some steps to protect yourself.

"We recommend that you shower before and after you get in the water and make sure you definitely wash your hands before you eat or drink,” Clifton said.

By taking the appropriate steps, health officials say you and your family will have a better chance of enjoying a safe and fun summer.

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