A couple of years ago, I was invited to participate in a call hosted by the CDC about swimming health and safety. Since Summer is here (and we have been spending our afternoons swimming in my parents’ pool everyday), I thought it would be good to revisit it again.

swimming with friends

Prior to being on the call, I have to say I really didn’t think about swimming health and safety, other than the importance of teaching children how to swim to prevent drowning, which is why we started Keenan in swim lessons so young (at 7 months in a mommy and me class). But, there is a whole other part to staying healthy when swimming due to contaminated pool water. It’s not just babies “pooping in the pool,” it can be other factors such as people not bathing with soap prior to going swimming.

Recreational water illnesses (RWIs) can be caused by swallowing contaminated water (in a pool, hot tub, water park, water play area, fountain, mister lakes, rivers or ocean). The most comment RWIs is diarrhea, which is caused several germs, such as Cyrptosporidium, Giardia, norovirus, Shiegella and E. coli. Some other illness can be infections of the skin, ears, respiratory and wounds. Children and pregnant women with suppressed immune systems are at the most risk.

Despite what most people think, chlorine does not sterilize and keep all germs at bay. So, how can you keep yourself safe and healthy among all of the yucky germs?

Here are 5 Tips that the CDC recmommends for staying healthy while swimming:

1. Don’t swim when you have diarrhea.

2. Always shower with soap before swimming (it doesn’t have to be right before you get in, but at least sometime that day or night before).

3. Take frequent bathroom breaks every hour (and change your child’s diaper frequently).

4. Make sure to wash hands after going to the bathroom or changing your child’s diaper before getting back into the pool.

5. A no-brainer, but don’t swallow the water you swim in.



How do you stay safe and healthy while swimming?

Have you ever suffered a RWI?