Next time you're packing your towel and sunscreen for a trip to the beach, you may want to check water quality reports, too.
Illness-causing bacteria are common in the nation's beaches, from marine areas to the Great Lakes.
Check water reports before you swim.
Practice good hygiene during and after visiting the beach.
You might not be sick of the beach yet, but the beach might be making you sick, suggest two new studies.
One study found that people who swam at a South Florida beach for just 15 minutes were more likely to fall ill over the next week compared with people who stayed on the beach, even though there was no known source of contamination there.
The other study, released by the National Resources Defense Council, identified the country's best and worst beaches in 2009, based on monitoring data from coastlines across the country.
Nationwide, there were more than 18,500 beach closings last year, mostly for either known or suspected high bacteria levels. And 7 percent of water samples exceeded national health standards for illness-causing bacteria -- with some beaches failing more than 70 percent of the time.