Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Can I get an infection from lake water?"
Was swimming in the lake with some friends and accidentally drank a mouth full of lake water. Am I going to get and infection or a disease? Is it safe to drink lake water?
There is some danger from drinking lake water, because it may be contaminate with various bacteria and other organisms that could potentially cause an infection. Fortunately, most people have strong immune systems and can resist any bad effects from accidentally drinking lake water. For example, the acid in your stomach serves as a barrier which destroys almost all bacteria and other potential contaminants that you may encounter. Therefore, unless you have a medical condition which affects your immune system, you should be okay. Nevertheless, be on the lookout for any signs of an infection. For example, if you start to have stomach pains or bloating, vomiting, or frequent diarrhea, these may be signs that you have contracted an infection. If you have these signs, you should go to see your primary care doctor. They may perform some basic laboratory tests to see if you have an infection and, if so, they will likely prescribe medications to help clear it up. On the other hand, if you are feeling fine right now and if you continue to feel fine, then there is no particular need to seek medical attention. However, as always, if you are worried or have additional questions, you should talk to your primary care doctor.
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