(WDBJ7) -- Following heavy rain this week, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) is urging people to take precautions to avoid flooded areas.
They also caution to be aware of potential health risks before you participate in recreational water activities once the rain passes.
The VDH says that heavy rains can increase the risk of exposure to animal waste and untreated wastewater from sewage treatment plants.
The most common illnesses from contaminated water are gastrointestinal illnesses. This may cause vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, abdominal pain or fever. Additionally, contact with contaminated water has the potential to cause upper respiratory (ear, nose, throat) and skin infections.
Some ways to safe include avoid swimming or wading in ditches, streams, and rivers for at least three days following a typical rain event. And avoid getting water in your mouth. Do not swim if you have a cut anywhere on your body. And shower with soap and water after swimming or wading in natural waters.