Galveston County Daily News (Internet / Print) 07/27/06 Weekly Column by Dr. Sally Robinson and Dr. Keith Bly: When people think of risks associated with swimming, they usually think of sunburns or drownings. Most swimmers don’t realize that the water itself can make them sick. Recreational water illnesses (RWI’s) are spread by swallowing, breathing or coming in contact with water that has been contaminated in swimming pools or hot tubs, and at water parks, lakes, rivers or oceans. Symptoms of RWI’s include skin, ear, respiratory, eye and wound infections. The most commonly reported RWI is diarrhea, which is caused by germs such as Cryptosporidium, Giardia, Shingella and E. coli. If contaminated water is swallowed, a person may become sick; many diarrhea-causing germs do not have to be swallowed in large amounts to make a person ill.