Sand and waves: take care of your health

World beaches and oceans aren't the cleanest places on Earth. Surfers spend a lot of time in these natural sanctuaries and are often exposed to several viruses, bacteria and parasites which can cause a variety of diseases.

Surfers are affected by skin, eye, ear, feet and respiratory problems while enjoying their wave rides. This is caused by pollution and water contamination.

The Huffington Post has published nine illnesses than may be caught by surfers and other recreational water users. Although you should not be alarmed by the list and the infections, it is important to carefully select the places where we go surfing. The sand and the water must be subject to regular analysis by the sanitary authorities.

The nine diseases you may contract in the beach and ocean are:

Hepatitis: a problem for surfers due to the improper disposal of red waste, a hazardous waste, such as syringes. The disease can be spread in the nation’s waters through needle and blood pollution.

Enteric Bacteria: it is transported by storm water and sewage run-off; the beaches become contaminated with fecal pollution, known as enterococci. The bacteria contaminates the intestinal tracts of humans and animals.

Legionnaire's disease: a respiratory illness that grows in warm waters; it's a form of pneumonia and is contracted when one inhales mist or vapor that is contaminated with the bacteria; it causes high fever, muscle aches and coughing.

Oil Spill Related Illnesses: dermatitis and other skin infections can be contracted following dermal contact with oil or dispersants.

Swimmer’s Ear (Otitis Externa): an infection of the external auditory canal that is often contracted during the summer in humid environments; disturbs the skin’s ability to serve as a barrier.

Gastroenteritis: cause diarrhea, which can be contracted from cryptosporidium, giardia, shigella, e.coli and norovirus.

Swimmer’s Itch (Schistosome cercarial dermatitis): an itchy rash that is caused by parasites; trematode parasites move from host to host.

Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis): also called Conjunctivitis is one of the most common eye infections that can be contracted in water; irritates the eyes causing people to touch the affected area, spreading the infection; often people wear contact lenses at the beach, which harbors the bacteria.

MRSA: present in sub-tropical waters; spreads from one body to another through water and is washed into the ocean where the bacteria can infect populations of beach goers.