Water warnings to keep in mind before you kick of Labor Day holiday festivities.
The Department of Environmental Quality is cautioning those who are planning to spend time at the states lakes and streams this weekend to mindful of the water quality and avoid blue green algae.
Labor Day fun is tied to the water for James Mason and his family.
“We go for it and we have a blast,” said Mason. During the summer he and his family frequently camp and go boating near Fort Gibson Lake. His daughter, Kassidy, said she enjoys time on the water. “It’s so much fun we fish, and ride the jet ski and go swimming,” said Kassidy.
The rules that apply to the grownups don’t apply to James’ young granddaughters. “I keep their heads out of the water and we do pay special attention to them.”
Mason said he can’t see what is in the water but it is one of his biggest concerns, “The protozoa because some people have passed away from that.”
The State Department of Health said in a little boy died in July from a waterborne illness he caught while swimming in the Red River.
The Department of Environmental Quality warns that there are certain bacteria, viruses and protozoa that can be present in untreated bodies of water. The bacteria or amoeba can travel into your nasal cavity.
The DEQ says some of these microorganisms can cause ear infections; swimmers itch or, in relatively rare but serious condition such as eye infections or some forms of meningitis.
Another concern this time of the year is blue-green algae. If blue-green algae are reported warning signs will be posted at swimming areas. Travelok.com posts the current status of lake conditions across the state.
James said he isn’t quite ready to give up his fun in the water this weekend but he is not about to brush of the DEQ’s reminder. “It’s in the back of our minds,” he said, “Everybody needs to take precautions.”
DEQ recommends the following precautions when swimming in any body of untreated water to reduce exposure to waterborne microorganisms:
- Hold nose or wear nose plugs when jumping into the water
- Wash open skin cuts and scrapes with clean soap and water immediately after swimming
- Avoid swallowing water when swimming
- Wear ear plugs to prevent ear infections
- Wear swim goggles or masks to prevent eye infections
- Avoid swimming near storm drains (pipes that drain polluted water from streets)
- Take children to the restroom frequently/Use swim diapers on infants
- Stay away from any area that has floating debris, stagnant water, oil sheens or dead fish