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Tuesday Trivia: Avoid water illnesses this swimming season

J. H. Osborne • May 28, 2019 at 7:30 AM

Did you swim over the holiday weekend? If not, swimming season is here, so you or someone in your family might go swimming soon.

The Tennessee Department of Health issued some simple reminders about steps everyone can take to keep pools safe and healthy this summer.

“The best way to prevent illnesses associated with swimming is to keep germs out of our swimming areas,” said TDH medical epidemiologist Mary-Margaret Fill, MD. “We can all help do that with simple precautions like not swimming when sick, not swallowing swim water, showering before swimming and following directions for pool chemical use, which also helps prevent chemical injuries.”

Avoid water illnesses

Almost 500 outbreaks of illness were linked to pools, hot tubs, spas and water playgrounds in the U.S. from 2000 – 2014. Maladies associated with swimming water include gastrointestinal illness, eye infections and irritation, hepatitis, wound and skin infections, respiratory illness and ear infections. Even healthy swimmers can get water-related illnesses, but young children, elderly people, pregnant women and those with weakened immune systems are especially at risk. Following these tips can help prevent water-related sickness:

• Don’t swim or let your child swim if sick with diarrhea.

• Check the pool’s latest inspection score.

• Rinse off in the shower for at least one minute before swimming.

• Wash your hands after using the toilet or changing diapers.

• Take children on frequent bathroom breaks and/or check diapers often.

• Check and change diapers in a bathroom or diaper-changing area, not at poolside.

• Don’t swallow the water you swim in.

• Read and follow directions for pool chemical use and storage.

Those with concerns about sanitation of a public pool can contact their local health department and ask for the environmentalist. For more information about healthy and safe swimming, visit www.cdc.gov/healthywater/swimming/.

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