Many people are using creeks, ponds and lakes for an escape from the heat this summer, and Hickory Creek in Morse Park remains a popular destination for swimmers, both adults and children.


Many people are using creeks, ponds and lakes for an escape from the heat this summer, and Hickory Creek in Morse Park remains a popular destination for swimmers, both adults and children.

The Newton County Health Department is advising the public to take precautions this year when swimming and recreating in area creeks and streams. The health department wants the public to keep in mind that there is a certain amount of risk associated with swimming in creeks, lakes and ponds, especially after heavy rains.  Fecal material is often flushed into creeks, lakes, and ponds and increases the possibility of disease causing organisms being present in the water.

“Be aware that swimming in these creeks is not like swimming in a swimming pool that has chlorinated filtered water,” said Bob Kulp, administrator of the Newton County Health Department. “I don’t care if you go to a creek, pond or lake, it is not a swimming pool. Even times when the bacteria counts are low, there is still a risk there that you could come in contact with something that makes you ill.”

Kulp advises people to practice good hygiene such as washing your hands after swimming in a creek or lake prior to handling food .

“Try not to ingest the water and by all means if you have been swimming in a creek or lake or pond, and you start getting nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, you probably ought to go see the doctor,” he said. “Within the next few days after you have been there, you start getting those kind of symptoms, it could be related to the water.”

For more information, contact the health department at 451-3743.

NEED TO KNOW

To date, the Newton County Health Department has not had any documented waterborne disease outbreaks in Newton County.