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Healthy and Safe Swimming Week

Posted by on May 23rd, 2017 Posted in: Fitness


Untitled by Dan Gold is licensed under CC0.

This week is Healthy and Safe Swimming Week, and as the summer swim season approaches, adults and children will be flocking to local pools for fun in the sun and exercise. Not only is swimming a great way to have fun with family and friends, it’s also a fun form of physical activity. Just 2.5 hours of water-based (or other forms of) physical activity per week have health benefits for everyone. However, swimming, like any form of physical activity, is not risk-free. Each of us plays a role in preventing illnesses and injuries linked to the water we share and swim in, this summer and year-round. Check out some of the tips below to make sure you have the safest summer yet.

Illnesses and Germs

Chlorine can kill most germs within minutes at concentrations recommended by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and typically required by state and local health departments, but one germ, Cryptosporidium, can remain up to a week. To prevent Crypto and other illnesses, every swimmer should:

  • Stay out of the water if they have diarrhea.
  • Shower before you get in the water.
  • Not urinate or defecate in the water.
  • Not swallow the water.


Every day, two children less than 14 years old die from drowning. Drowning is a leading cause of injury death for children ages 1–4 years. To keep swimmer safe:

  • Make sure everyone knows how to swim.
  • Use life jackets appropriately.
  • Provide continuous, attentive supervision close to swimmers.
  • Know CPR.

Pool Chemicals

Pool chemicals are added to maintain water quality, but each year, mishandling of pool chemicals leads to 3,000 to 5,000 visits to emergency departments across the United States. To prevent injury by pool chemicals, pool operators should:

  • Read and follow directions on product labels.
  • Wear appropriate safety equipment (for example, goggles), as directed on product labels, when handling pool chemicals.
  • Secure pool chemicals to protect people, particularly young children, and animals.
  • Add pool chemicals poolside ONLY when directed by product label and when no one is in the water.

To learn more about Healthy and Safe Swimming Week, visit the CDC’s website.

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