ANDERSON –– Temperatures are on the rise and nothing beats the hot weather like a lounge at the pool or a boat on the water. But if water safety is forgotten in the heat of the moment, consequences can be deadly.
“Any body of water can be dangerous,” said Tom Tacket, maintenance superintendent for Anderson City Parks.
In addition to being an old-fashioned pastime, swimming in streams, lakes or ponds can happen naturally when boating, fishing or canoeing in local bodies of water. The problem, however, lies in the hidden dangers of such places and swimming where no swimming signs are posted.
According to a report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than half of all drownings of men and boys happen in natural water settings.
The bottom of natural bodies of water are murky and depths can be hard to determine. Tacket said most of the city’s waterways have no swimming signs clearly posted.
The lake at Shadyside was once an old gravel pit, and while the north portion of the lake is about 27 feet deep, the south side of the lake has areas around 40 feet deep. Tacket said there have also been people who have drowned in the lake.
“It was an old gravel pit,” he said. “There have been a couple people drown out there and you can identify the areas because of the crosses out there.”
Dr. Ed Irick, an emergency medical doctor from the Emergency Center at St. Vincent Anderson Regional Hospital, said illnesses caused from pools, lakes and rivers are referred to as recreational water illnesses (RWI). A variety of infections, including gastrointestinal, skin, ear, respiratory, eye and wound, can occur if the water is contaminated.
Irick said people should avoid getting water in their mouths, not swim when they have diarrhea and only swim after practicing good hygiene.