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"Can swimming cause one to fall ill?"


Can you get sick just as a result of swimming? I have twice come down with a cold (or something like a cold) after going swimming in a small pond near my house - and I'm beginning to wonder if there is a connection. I thought maybe if the water is stangnant, then it is breeding bacteria?


The association of you swimming in a pond with your illness depends on what you have. The best type of doctor to see for this type of thing is a family doctor or internal medicine doctor that practices primary care. A cold is a viral illness that is spread through nasal secretions of the infected person.

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The cold viruses do not tend to live in pond water. The only association between catching a cold and swimming is that being in the cold water may make you more susceptible to getting the virus from someone else. Ponds are loaded with bacteria, but they generally do not cause infections (unless we inhale it) because they cannot access the body through the skin. One exception to this is skin infections from hot tubs. The hot water in jacuzzis can be a breeding ground for a bacteria called pseudomonas which can invade hair follicles and cause skin infections. Since a cold is not caused by bacteria, there would be no link between the two. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. He or she can examine you and make sure that it is just a common cold that you have. If it is something else, then perhaps the water can explain how you got sick. Good luck.

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