Healthy Swimming Is No Accident

Armen Hareyan's picture
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Healthy Swimming

This summer, swimming pools will be filled with millions of people having fun and staying cool.

But did you know that germs can contaminate swimming water even if it is treated with chlorine? Learning about recreational water illnesses (RWIs), which are spread by swimming in contaminated recreational waters such as swimming pools, waterparks, lakes, even the ocean, can protect you from illness.

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RWIs are caused by germs like "Crypto" (KRIP-toe, short for Cryptosporidium), Giardia (gee-ARE-dee-uh), E. coli 0157:H7, Shigella (Shi-GE-luh), and Norovirus and are spread by accidentally swallowing water that has been contaminated with fecal matter. How does a pool get contaminated? You share the water with everyone in the pool. If someone with diarrhea contaminates the water, swallowing the water can make you sick.

The great news is that germs causing RWIs are killed by chlorine. However, chlorine doesn't work right away. It takes time to kill germs and some germs like "Crypto" are resistant to chlorine and can live in pools for days. That is why even the best maintained pools can spread illness. Therefore, Healthy Swimming behaviors are needed to protect you and your kids from RWIs and will help stop germs from getting in the pool in the first place. Here are six "PLEAs" that promote Healthy Swimming:

1. PLEASE don't swim when you have diarrhea. This is especially important for kids in diapers. You can spread germs in the water and make other people sick. You might even consider keeping kids who've had diarrhea out of the pool for a few days after they feel better.

Healthy Swimming

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