Sea swimming increases risk of illness, study says

Taking a dip in open-water may lead to an increased risk of illness, according to a recent report.

The new study found swimming in natural waters increases the chance of developing stomach bugs, ear aches and other illnesses.

Researchers from the University of Exeter Medical School found the odds of developing an earache increases by 77-percent for beach-goers compared to non-sea swimmers. For gastrointestinal illnesses, researchers found the odds increased by 29 percent.

Scientists say seawater can still be polluted with industrial waste, sewage and run-off from farmland.

The report's authors say they hope their research will "contribute to further efforts to clean up our coastal waters."

The study was recently published in the International Journal of Epidemiology.