Practical Health Tips For Swim Season
make an estimated 360 million trips to various recreational water
venues, while having access to over 8.1 million pools open for private
or public use each year. Communal swimming often puts people at risk
for contracting recreational water illnesses (RWI), raising the need
for healthy and cautious swimming.
annual National Recreational Water Illness Prevention week, May 21-27,
raised awareness among swimmers of common RWI. Dr. Eric E. Whitaker,
Illinois Department of Public Health director, encourages healthy
swimming habits that will help with prevention and protection
throughout the season.
just around the corner and many of us are looking forward to jumping in
the pool, hitting a water park or going to the beach. But you can get
sick from the water if you are not careful," said Whitaker.
is the perfect time to learn what precautions to take to make sure you
don't contaminate the water and learn how to possibly identify problems
with the water."
percent of RWI outbreaks are credited to the "chlorine-resistant
pathogen," Cryptosporidium (Crypto), causing diarrhea. Chlorine kills
most germs within an hour, but Crypto can survive for days in a
properly maintained swimming area. Other than diarrhea, common
infections are: gastrointestinal, skin, ear and eye; caused by Giardia,
Shigella and Norovirus germs.
Center for Disease Control (CDC) encourages swimmers to follow hygiene
habits that will increase protection against Crypto:
swim if you have diarrhea, or have had it within the past two weeks;
swallow the water and try not to have it enter your mouth;
before and after swimming and make sure to wash your hands after each
regular bathroom breaks for children; and
diapers only in designated areas and not by pool sides.
at risk for RWI are children, elderly, pregnant women and anyone with a
weakened immune system. Other visual tips that can help in choosing a
swimming venue include:
and clear water; stripes painted on the bottom of the pool should be
pool sides; the tiles should not be slippery or sticky;
odor; a strong chemical smell is an indication of a poorly maintained
equipment working; pumps and filters should be heard and seen running.
more information on waterborne illnesses and safety regulations, visit www.cdc.gov/healthyswimming.