The Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality is issuing cautionary advice to those planning trips to state lakes, rivers and streams during the coming Fourth of July holiday.

The department says bacteria and viruses can be present in untreated bodies of water and can cause problems ranging from swimmers itch and ear infections to some forms of meningitis.

Those swimming should hold their nose or wear nose plugs when jumping into water, wear ear plugs and swim goggles, avoid swallowing water when swimming, avoid swimming near storm drains and wash open skin cuts with soap and fresh water immediately.

Swimmers should also take children on frequent restroom breaks, use swim diapers on infants and avoid areas with floating debris, stagnant water, oil sheens and dead fish.

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