Swimming is a fun and a great way to stay healthy and spend time with family and friends. However, it’s important not to swim or let your kids swim if they have diarrhea. Just one diarrheal incident in the water can release millions of diarrhea-causing germs like Crypto (short for Cryptosporidium), Giardia, Shigella, norovirus, and E. coli O157:H7. This can make other swimmers sick if they swallow a mouthful of contaminated water.
Most germs are killed within minutes by common pool disinfectants like chlorine or bromine, but Crypto is a germ that can survive in properly chlorinated water for more than seven days. This is why Crypto is the leading cause of outbreaks linked to swimming in the United States.
Tips for Healthy Swimming
Practicing healthy swimming is important to keep ourselves and our loved ones healthy. Whether in the pool, the hot tub/spa, or water playground we can all help protect ourselves and our loved ones from germs by following these simple but effective steps:
- Don’t swim or let children swim when sick with diarrhea.
- Don’t swallow the water.
- Take kids on bathroom breaks every hour.
- Check diapers, and change them in a bathroom or diaper-changing area – not poolside – to keep germs away from the pool.
- Shower before you get in the water. Rinsing off in the shower for just one minute helps get rid of any germs that might be on your body.
Drowning is a leading cause of unintentional injury death among children one to 14 years old. In fact, drowning kills more young children one to four years old than anything else except birth defects.
Of drowning victims who survive and are treated in emergency rooms, more than half are hospitalized or transferred for further care. They often experience brain damage, which can cause memory problems, learning disabilities, or permanent loss of basic functioning (or permanent vegetative state). Swimmers can prevent fatal and non-fatal drowning by learning swimming skills, by wearing life vests, and by swimming under the close supervision of parents, caregivers, or lifeguards who know cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
Remember: You can contact the STOF Fire Department for a schedule of free CPR Classes. The Environmental Health Program requests that you call the STOF Health Department with any pool related issues. We can be reached at 954-985-2330.