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OPINION

Health and Wellness: What could I catch this summer?

Ann Cochran - Dallas County Public Health
Perry Chief

COVID-19 isn’t the only infectious disease you could catch this summer. Polk County reported the first 2020 case of West Nile virus, and further to the south, Appanoose County reported the tick-transmitted Heartland virus. Additionally, Dallas County Health Department is receiving more reports of water-borne infections such as Cyclospora and Cryptosporidium.

Early speculation on the increase of water-borne diseases is that many swimming pools remain closed, so people are swimming in rivers, lakes and farm ponds. Cyclospora is spread by swallowing food or water contaminated by infected stool. Persons of all ages are at risk for this type of infection. If you experience watery diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea, or vomiting, call your healthcare clinic; be sure to report any contact with swimming water. More information is at https://worldwaterreserve.com/potable-water/common-waterborne-diseases

It’s important to know that you can protect yourself against these diseases. Wear insect repellent with DEET. Eliminate standing water, which is where mosquitos lay eggs. Check yourself and your pets after being in tall grass or wooded areas. Avoid swimming in water that is not chlorine treated. And as for the coronavirus, continue to wash your hands frequently, keep your distance from others and wear a mask in public.