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How to protect yourself, and Minnesota's lakes, as water-borne illnesses shut down more beaches

As water-borne illnesses close some Minnesota beaches, stay healthy with these tips
As water-borne illnesses close some Minnesota beaches, stay healthy with these tips 01:51

MINNEAPOLIS – Lakes are a huge part of summer in Minnesota. But they can also be a breeding ground for things that make you sick. 

Beaches are closing down around the Twin Cities for swimmers itch, E. coli, and even norovirus. 

MORE: MDH - Norovirus possibly behind outbreak at Eagan's Schulze Lake

"Unfortunately, when people enter the water, we bring everything that's on our body into the water with us. And so if people have fecal material on their bottom and that contains germs, we're bringing that into the water with us, too," said Trisha Robinson. waterborne disease supervisor at the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH).

That's why MDH says it's important to shower before and after you get in a lake, and to keep that water out of your mouth.   


"We all know that's not the water that we drink, but we unintentionally ingest water when we're swimming. And so we're all unintentionally ingesting that small amount of germs that may have been washed into the water while we're swimming," she said.

That includes water that may go up your nose and cause more serious infections. MDH says their advice to everyone is simple.

"If you have been sick with vomiting or diarrhea, please stay home and don't go swimming other places," she said.

MORE: Round Lake Beach in Eden Prairie closes due to high levels of bacteria

Right now, it's up to your city or county to let you know about beach closures. But the state is working on a single website that will track those across Minnesota. 

It was approved as part of the state's Clean Water Fund, but there is no timeline as to when it will be up and running.

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