3. Brain-Eating Amoeba
Naegleria fowleri is a brain-eating amoeba that is exceedingly rare and only puts freshwater beachgoers at risk. It frequents the warm waters and soils of freshwater lakes and ponds, which means that swimmers in marine water will not have to worry about the infection.
N. fowleri enters a swimmer’s body through the nose and works its way to the brain. Although it thrives off bacteria, it will consume whatever is in front of it while in the brain.
Symptoms include fever, headache, and vomiting. The usually fatal infection becomes more violent over time by causing seizures and hallucinations before putting the person into a coma.
The CDC confirmed that only 34 cases between 2009 and 2018 were linked to recreational waters. They even believe that it is okay to consume water that contains N. fowleri because the acids in the stomach kill the microbe immediately.
2. Bloomin’ Algae
Most algae living in the ocean are harmless, but some produce insanely nasty toxins. Runoff can carry nitrogen and phosphorus into waterways which triggers population explosions known as blooms.
These harmful algal blooms contaminate drinking water. Swimmers can also inhale the toxins through water vapor, swallow them, or absorb them through the skin. Some of the toxins attack the nervous system, while others damage the liver.
Touching the algae can produce rashes and skin sores. But swimmers who inhale or ingest the contaminated water may experience cramps, diarrhea, nausea, coughing, and ear infections.
Dinoflagellates cause the harmful algal blooms called red tides that are in salt water. The chemicals produced by these algae can disrupt nerve cells and cause trouble with the eyes and throat.
Beachgoers also have to watch out for roundworms. These parasites typically live in your dog’s intestines and feces. Most humans are infected by accidental ingestion, and children are more often affected than adults.
Beachgoers will not know that they are near the parasite, but the right contact with sand could help trigger the infection. Symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, cough, diarrhea, shortness of breath, fever, abdominal pain, and even worms in your feces. Several medications can be prescribed to help treat roundworms, and many treatments work well.