"It is much easier to protect your children than living without them."
Sandra Gompf, MD
There are no means yet known that would control naturally occurring Naegleria fowleri levels in lakes and rivers making prevention difficult. Because of this, swimmers and other recreational water users should assume that there is always a level of risk whenever they enter warm freshwater lakes, rivers, and hot springs (for example, when swimming, diving, or waterskiing), particularly in southern-tier states..
The only certain way to prevent a Naegleria fowleri infection due to swimming is to refrain from water-related activities in warm freshwater. We want you to be empowered so you know the precautions to take to enjoy the summer. Naegleria fowleri gains entrance to the brain through the nasal cavity. Personal actions to reduce the risk of Naegleria fowleri infection should focus on limiting the amount of water going up the nose.
Photo courtesy of Kyle Cares Amoeba Awareness
The above actions are to reduce your risk of infection. The only way to prevent infection 100% is to avoid warm fresh water activities.
To Help Prevent Water from Entering the Nasal Passages, the CDC recommends the following:
USE NOSE CLIPS as portrayed in the picture above or keep your head above water when taking part in water-related activities in bodies of warm freshwater.
Avoid putting your head under the water.
Avoid water-related activities in warm freshwater during periods when water temps reach 80 degrees or greater.
Avoid digging in, or stirring up, the sediment while taking part in water-related activities in shallow, warm freshwater areas.
False Sense of Security
Don't assume pools and waterparks are safe. Recent Naegleria fowleri infections have been documented in poorly chlorinated pools and waterparks.
Ask to see the latest pH and chlorine levels.
You cannot get infected from drinking water contaminated with Naegleria. You can only be infected when contaminated water goes up into your nose into the nasal cavity and then gains entrance to the brain.
Chlorine is added to the water to kill germs and amoebas. But it does not work right away. If used properly, free chlorine can kill most germs including amoebas within a few minutes. In order to do this the pH and chlorine level must be within a certain range. CDC recommends pH 7.2–7.8 and a free chlorine concentration of at least 1 ppm in pools and at least 3 ppm in hot tubs/spas.