High Bacteria Count Advisory at Hanaka‘ō‘ō, Maui
“Children, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems are the most likely populations to develop illnesses or infections after coming into contact with polluted water, usually while swimming. Fortunately, while swimming-related illnesses can be unpleasant, they are usually not very serious – they require little or no treatment or get better quickly upon treatment, and they have no long-term health effects,” the advisory stated.
The most common illness associated with swimming in water polluted by fecal pathogens is gastroenteritis. The DOH says it occurs in a variety of forms that can have one or more of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, stomachache, diarrhea, headache or fever. Other minor illnesses associated with swimming include ear, eye, nose and throat infections. In highly polluted water, swimmers may occasionally be exposed to more serious diseases.
“Not all illnesses from a day at the beach are from swimming. Food poisoning from improperly refrigerated picnic lunches may also have some of the same symptoms as swimming-related illnesses, including stomachache, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. At any given time and place, we are constantly exposed to a variety of microorganisms that have the potential of making us ill,” the DOH said.
Signs have been posted and the advisory will remain in effect until water sample results no longer exceed the threshold levels.