Health advisories were issued today for several Northwest beaches. Among them, Washington’s Vancouver Lake, and on the Oregon coast, D River Beach and Heceta Beach.
State officials are warning swimmers that the waters contain high levels of fecal bacteria.
Rebecca Hillwig, with Oregon’s Beach Monitoring Program said that the bacteria enters the body through the mouth and not through the skin. Beaches where there are no facilities pose higher risks, especially for children.
“They don’t wash their hands. Kids mostly are going to have their hands in their mouths and sort of transfer that bacteria from their hands to their mouths,” said Hillwig.
Children may also swallow water while swimming.
The main symptom of bacterial contact is diarrhea. Stomach cramps, rashes and upper respiratory tract infections can also occur.
On the southern Oregon coast today, similar warnings were lifted for Harris Beach and Harris State Park Beach.
An up-to-date list of advisories from the Oregon Health Authority can be found here.