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Dozens of children sick after possible chemical exposure at water park

The summer season is a time to enjoy family activities, adventurous vacations and freedom from school. Parents need to take precaution when it comes to safety, as there are potential health risks everywhere.

Amusement parks are all fun and games until someone gets hurt — or falls ill due to a potential chemical exposure. Parents are looking for answers after an incident at an Antioch water park in northern California that left many sick. ABC News reports close to 20 people were sent to the hospital for their conditions, while the rest received treatment on-site.

“We just heard people screaming, saying their throat burned,” a witness told KPIX 5 News.

Emergency crews arrived on the scene after receiving calls about a child experiencing health-related issues. Officials from the Contra Costa Fire Protection District think the cause is related to excessive levels of chlorine in the water.

“Every few years we do get something that happens like this,” notes Robert Marshall, a fire marshal. “It’s not unheard of.”

Well, doesn’t that make your skin crawl?

Chlorine is a heavily used chemical that’s found in food pesticides and drinking water. When applied to swimming pools, the element works to kill bacteria. The CDC reveals significant chlorine exposure can lead to symptoms that include burning pain, blurred vision, difficulty breathing and vomiting, among others.

Unfortunately this is not something you can escape, as many facilities use chlorine to make their attractions sanitary for large crowds. Whether you choose to swim at a local pool or venture off to an amusement park, please pay attention to your children — and any complaint related to water exposure. Wash yourself thoroughly with water after exposure to chlorine water to prevent future irritation. It’s also a good idea to not wear wet clothes. Even if they dry, the chlorine can still irritate your skin.

I have fond memories of visiting amusement parks as a child. Being a young girl, I never paid attention to health risks like exposure to high levels of chlorine. I welcomed opportunities to swim in the wave pool and stand in front of rides that would drench me with water.

The fact that something like this is common (not the number infected) can be scary for a parent. Lord knows the amount of germs you’ll have to battle dealing with a public restroom should you wish to clean off your child. Some probably won’t take the extra precaution, as cleaning off an energetic kid and changing their clothes isn’t exactly a walk in the park. Still, it’s important to look for symptoms and consider precautionary actions that will help keep your child safe.

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