XENIA — Greene County Public Health officials announced that the week before Memorial Day, May 22–28, is Healthy and Safe Swimming Week.
The goal of this week is to maximize the health benefits of swimming by promoting healthy and safe swimming. Just 2.5 hours of water-based (or other forms) of physical activity per week has health benefits across a lifetime. Each person plays a role in preventing illnesses, caused by germs in the water we share and swim in, and injuries, such as drowning or those caused by mishandling pool chemicals.
Illnesses in the places we swim
According to Columbus officials, in 2016 a total of 107 cases of cryptosporidiosis (“Crypto”), the most common recreational water illness (RWI), were reported in Columbus, Franklin County and Delaware County, which is more cases than the area had seen in the previous three years combined. Chlorine and other disinfectants kill most germs within minutes, but some can survive for days. Pee, poop, sweat, and dirt from swimmers’ bodies mix with chlorine and form chemicals that can make eyes red and trigger asthma attacks. So it’s important to keep germs, pee, poop, sweat, and dirt out of the water.
Here are a few simple and effective prevention steps everyone can take:
– Stay out of the water if you have diarrhea.
– Shower before you get in the water.
– Don’t pee or poop in the water.
– Don’t swallow the water.
– Every hour — everyone out!
– Take kids on bathroom breaks.
– Check diapers, and change them in a bathroom or diaper changing area —not poolside —to keep germs away from the pool.
– Reapply sunscreen.
– Drink plenty of fluids.
Dangers of Drowning
Every day, two children less than 14 years old die from drowning. It is the leading cause of injury death for children 1–4 years old. Help keep swimmers safe in the water by following these steps:
– Make sure everyone knows how to swim.
– Use life jackets appropriately.
– Provide continuous, attentive supervision close to swimmers.
– Know CPR.
– Prevent access to water when pool is not in use.
– Install and maintain barriers like 4-sided fencing and weight-bearing pool covers.
– Use locks/alarms for windows and doors.
Injuries caused by mishandling pool chemicals (for pool operators and residential pool owners)
Pool chemicals are added to the water to kill germs and maximize disinfection. Each year, however, mishandling of pool chemicals by pool operators and residential pool owners leads to 3,000–5,000 visits to emergency departments across the U.S. Follow these prevention steps:
– Read and follow directions on product labels.
– Wear appropriate safety equipment, such as goggles and masks, as directed, when handling pool chemicals.
– Secure pool chemicals to protect people and animals.
– Add pool chemicals poolside ONLY when directed by product label and when no one is in the water.
– Prevent violent, potentially explosive, reactions.
– NEVER mix different pool chemicals with each other, especially chlorine products with acid.
– Pre-dissolve pool chemicals ONLY when directed by product label.
– Add pool chemical to water, NEVER water to pool chemical.
Helpful websites to learn more: www.cdc.gov/healthyswimming, http://bit.ly/1cp4GmE, http://bit.ly/2rj62hU. For more information about Greene County Public Health, visit the website at www.gcph.info or call 937-374-5600.
Story courtesy of Greene County Public Health.