Why You Should Avoid the Ocean After It Rains

It might seem like a good idea to go swimming after it rains, but not if where you’ll be swimming happens to be the ocean. That’s because storm water runoff can pick up bacteria, fertilizers, oil, sewage, and other contaminants on its journey into our oceans and waterways. All that gunk hits the beach in a concentrated mass, before slowly dispersing out into the rest of the ocean. One recent study found that fecal indicator bacteria were 500% higher following rain events. For people who frequent the water, that means a higher risk of gastrointestinal illness, ear and respiratory infections, skin rashes, and other ailments. The Department of Environmental Health recommends avoiding activities such as swimming, surfing and diving for 72 hours after it rains. It’s important to remember that while it may not have rained much in your location, it’s possible that there was more rain in surrounding areas which resulted in storm water runoff. When in doubt, check local water quality reports to see if advisories were issued.