Pool Safety: Protect yourself from Recreational Water Illness
Pool Safety: Protect Yourself from Recreational Water Illnesses
Swimming Pools are a fun activity for all during the warmer months. Although they can be a great alternative if you don’t have a beach nearby, they can also carry bacteria and germs which can cause recreational water illnesses. Recreational Water Illnesses (RWIs) are caused by germs which contaminate swimming pools, hot tubs and water parks or other bodies of water. RWIs can also be caused by chemicals that evaporate from the water. As a result, RWIs can cause infections, the most common being diarrhea. Preventing RWIs requires participation by not just the pool staff but also from swimmers. Even though they cannot eliminate the issue altogether, together they can make changes and steps in order to make the pool a healthier place to swim. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has put together a list of steps to help protect yourself from these illnesses. Remember to always swim your LAAPS!
L-Look at the swimming pool and its surroundings.
- Is the water clear and clean? Can you see straight to the bottom of the pool?
- Are the slides and equipment smooth? They should not be sticky or slippery.
- Does the pool smell? Although you should be able to smell some odor due to the chlorine, the swimming pool should not have a strong chemical smell.
- Are all of the pool pumps and filters working?
A-Ask questions of the pool staff.
- What is their training? Are they certified?
- Are chlorine and pH levels checked at least twice per day?
- Are the levels checked when the pool is most heavily used?
- Is trained staff available on the weekends?
- What was the health inspection grade for the pool?
A-Act by being proactive and educating others.
- Learn about RWIs and educate others on what you know.
- Urge pool management to spread the word about RWIs.
- Check the swimming pool water yourself for adequate free chlorine (1-3 parts per million) and pH (7.2-7.8) levels. You can buy test strips at local home improvement stores.
P-Practice healthy swimming behaviors.
- Keep urine, fecal matter, sweat, and dirt out of the water.
- Stay out of the water if you have diarrhea.
- Shower before you get in the water.
- Do not swallow the water.
- Every hour take everyone in your family out for bathroom breaks. Check diapers and change them in the bathroom or diaper changing area – never pool side. Reapply sunscreen and drink plenty of fluids.
S-Safety is always important.
- Keep an eye on children at all times. Children can drown in seconds and in silence.
- Don’t use air-filled swimming aids in place of life jackets or preserves.
- Protect against sunburn by using sunscreen with at least SPF 15 and both UVA and UVB protection. Always reapply after swimming.