Is Wild Swimming too Dangerous? Brain-Eating Amoebas Kill Three Swimmers in the USA

Wild Swimming - Go ahead and jump, but hold your nose.

The official advice is to go ahead and jump in – but hold your nose!

Just how serious a threat to health are these deadly amoebas?

Why are they so harmful?

Should you keep your children out of the water?

According to SHOTS NPR’S Health Blog, although infection is very rare, swimmers have a 1 in 10,000,000 chance of dying from the infection. In the UK the risk of death from Weil’s disease is 1 in 20,000,000, and for many that means that wild swimming is just too dangerous to contemplate. But do these statistics indicate that outdoor swimming really is a danger to health, should we keep out of the water altogether? Well perhaps a comparison of risks would be helpful. Think for a moment about the very high risk of mortality whilst engaging in everyday activities, take for example travelling by car. 1 in 6,500 travelers die in car accidents each year in the USA, which means that 1 in every 83 Americans will end their life in a car accident (1 in 9600 die each year in the UK). How then do these risks compare? Adults and children are at alarmingly high risk of death when travelling by car, yet we accept these risks, not even giving a thought to them before jumping into the car with our children. As we accept these very high risks even for needless journeys why do we over-react when hearing alarmist reports about the risks of wild swimming in the press? Partly because these reports are just that – alarmist, they are designed to catch attention, filling readers with fear. Another factor is that it’s human nature to strain out the nat whilst gulping down the camel. Read the full article for yourself  and don’t be frightened by everything you hear. If your children want to swim in a warm lake this summer, keep an eye on them and make sure they hold their nose when they jump in!

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