May 20–26, 2019 is Healthy and Safe Swimming Week. This year’s theme is “Pool Chemistry for Healthy and Safe Swimming.” Learn how to stay healthy and safe when swimming!
Swimming is a fun, healthy way to stay physically active and spend quality time with family and friends. Healthy and Safe Swimming Week highlights the roles that swimmers, parents of young swimmers, aquatics and beach staff, residential pool owners, and public health officials play in preventing disease outbreaks, drowning, and pool chemical injuries.
Preventing Disease Outbreaks
Chemicals like chlorine are added to pool water to kill germs and stop them from spreading, helping to keep swimmers healthy. However, mishandling pool chemicals can cause injuries. Operators of public pools, hot tubs/spas, or water playgrounds and owners of residential pools or hot tubs/spas can take steps to prevent pool chemical injuries, such as reading and following directions on product labels of pool chemicals before using them.
Swimmers and parents of young swimmers can also promote healthy and safe swimming through pool chemistry. When swimmers don’t shower before getting in pools, hot tubs/spas, or water playgrounds or pee in the water, free chlorine (the form of chlorine that kills germs) combines with pee, poop, sweat, dirt, and personal care products. This means there is less free chlorine to kill germs and unwanted chemical compounds are produced. One example is a group of irritants called chloramines, which can makes eyes red and sting, skin irritation and rashes, and respiratory problems. These chloramines are different from the type of chloramine that is sometimes used to treat our drinking water.
Tips for Healthy Swimming
- Check out the latest inspection score. You can typically find inspection scores online or onsite.
- Do your own mini-inspection. Use test strips to check disinfectant (chlorine or bromine) level and pH before getting in the water. Most superstores, hardware stores, and pool-supply stores sell test strips.
- Shower for at least 1 minute before you get into the water. This will remove most of the dirt and sweat on your body.
- Check yourself! Keep the pee, poop, sweat, blood, and dirt out of the water.
- Don’t swim or let children swim when sick with diarrhea
- Don’t swallow the water. Just one mouthful of water with diarrhea germs can make you sick for up to 3 weeks.
Download CDC’s health promotion materials and order FREE posters to help spread the word about staying healthy and safe in the water this summer and all year long!