With summer fast approaching, families will soon be spending happy, sun-filled days frolicking at the lake.  It’s important to be aware of any hidden underwater dangers at your local swimming hole.  If you aren’t familiar with the area, do your research first to find out where the safest place to swim is located. Always follow the rules for swimming and check out these safety tips:

DON’T DRINK THE WATER! You never know what may be lurking in the lake water. There could be a plethora of microorganisms just waiting to take up residence in your tummy.  Untreated freshwater can contain some especially vile microbes, including the deadly, “brain-eating” amoeba Naegleria Fowleri.  It’s vital that you avoid letting the water get in through your nose as well.  Every year a handful of Americans get one of these killers lodged deep in their sinuses by plunging into water with plugging their noses first.  The amoeba infects the brain by working its way up from the nasal passages and there is not a lot doctors can do about it.  This, of course, is a worst-case scenario…but the truth is you don’t want any of those nasty organisms in your body.

EVEN EXPERIENCED SWIMMERS NEED A LIFE JACKET.  Even Olympic swimmers wouldn’t be able to prevent an under toe from pulling them under a rock or underwater cliff.  A life jacket will keep you afloat and help you to pop back up to the surface should something be pulling you down.  If you have to wait for a boat to rescue you for any reason, you will be glad you have a life jacket so that you don’t have to tread water for an exhausting length of time.

AVOID BOAT EXHAUST AREAS.  If your swimming near boats, steer clear of the motor exhaust. Carbon monoxide fumes hovering on the surface of the lake can be deadly if inhaled as you are slipping under the water.

NEVER SWIM ALONE.  This cannot be stressed enough.  ALWAYS HAVE A SWIM BUDDY! 

THINK BEFORE YOU JUMP! This is the number one lake swimming safety tip!  Blindly running and jumping into a lake from a boat or dock looks like loads of fun in the movies, but in real life it is dangerous.  Someone should always check the water for depth and debris before anyone takes a running leap. 

Follow these tips and lake swimming this summer will be fun and safe for you and your family!