BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - On a hot summer day, diving into the nearest lake or river is a quick and fun way to cool off. Unfortunately the excessive heat can cause bacteria levels in water to rise. That is especially true if there has been little rain.
"Various bacterial infections that can cause diarrhea, they can cause viral illnesses, those types of things. It's bacteria and viruses are the two big things that we talk about," said Dr. Susan Rehm.
Rehm says that bacteria already live in all bodies of water, but warm conditions create the perfect environment for bacteria to reproduce and grow to potentially dangerous levels.
If you do head to the river this summer, doctors say avoid swallowing in any water. Also, make sure all cuts or open wounds are covered before jumping in. Broken skin is the perfect way for bacteria to creep into your system.
"You may feel flu-like symptoms before you begin to see problems with the wound itself, and then redness, drainage, that type of thing," said Rehm.
Showering after swimming is also a way to reduce your risk for infection.
The Department of Health and Hospitals also posts any advisories about unsafe bacteria levels online so you can check before any trip. Find that link here.