PAWHUSKA, Okla. – “It might not be horrible, but it could be at the same time so me and my husband were really worried,” said concerned parent Jessye Millard.
Millard was worried after her 2-year-old daughter, Lili, started acting strange.
“She started getting really irritable, she started screaming off the top of her lungs and we finally were just like I think there’s something wrong,” Millard said.
It all happened after the family spent Memorial Day swimming on Bluestem Lake.
“She was actually sitting still with us and watching TV, and we’re like this isn’t Lili,” Millard said.
The symptoms made Millard take her daughter to the doctor.
“That’s what kind of pushed me to take her in just because she wasn’t my child. You could tell a difference between the two of them,” she said.
Millard was shocked by the results.
“Our doctor got back with us and told us she tested positive for the Shiga Toxin Type 2 and to get her into the ER as quick as possible,” she said.
According to the C.D.C., it’s a type of E. Coli.
“Because it does attack kids with weakened immune systems, so we think that’s why the two of them out of the eight that were swimming really got sick,” Millard said.
Lili’s 8-year-old cousin also is suffering health complications after swimming in the lake.
The family is wanting to warn others about their frightening experience.
“There was a lot of fighting back tears, especially through the process of giving blood, because it took five of us to hold her down… That’s a traumatic experience just in itself,” she said.
The parents are afraid to let their kids in the water again.
“It’s kind of a sad because it’s kind of taken that away because we’re all scared to let them swim again,” Millard said.
Pawhuska city officials confirmed to News 4 that they are testing the water. The results are not back yet.
The Oklahoma Department of Environmental quality is not working this specific incident but are sending some tips for those planning to swim:
- Chose swimming areas carefully
- Pay attention to signage about water conditions
- Stay away from areas that have stagnant water, floating debris, scum, an oil sheen or dead fish
- Avoid swimming near storm drains
- Do not swim in flooded areas
- Take simple precautions
- Hold nose or wear nose plugs when jumping into the water
- Avoid swallowing water when swimming
- Wear ear plugs to prevent ear infections
- Wear swim goggles or masks to prevent eye infections
- Wash skin with soap and water after swimming
- Prevent spread of illness to others
- Take children to restroom frequently
- Use swim diapers on infants
- Rinse off prior to entering the water
- Avoid swimming if you are ill