Do You Want To Swim in That?

The sun is high, the air is warm, and people in purple tights are dancing around, celebrating the solstice at Stonehenge. Summer is officially here, with children and adults searching for a way to cool off in the closest pool, river, or lake. But there may be more in those refreshing waters than most people expect.

Recreational water illnesses (RWIs) make people sick every summer worldwide. Cryptosporidium, Giardia, E. coli, and Shingella can be potentially spread through water. They can also leave unsuspecting swimmers sick for weeks.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has several recommendations to preventing RWIs that any swimmer should pay attention to, especially if swimming with children.

@bullet:Don't swim when you have diarrhea. Children in diapers often unwittingly contaminate public pools, spreading germs into the water.

@bullet:Don't swallow pool water. Besides the potential chlorine ingestion, make sure to avoid getting any pool water in your mouth to protect yourself from unknown infectious germs.

@bullet:Take bathroom breaks often and make sure children do the same.

@bullet:Change diapers in the bathroom, not by the pool. Germs can spread from surfaces, so try to keep a distance between dirty diapers and the water.

@bullet:Wash those hands! Make sure to use soap and water to wash your hands, and your children's hands, before returning to the pool after taking a bathroom break. Those little digits can be the perfect transportation system from the bathroom to the water for nasty germs.

@bullet:Wash your child thoroughly with soap and water before swimming. Small amounts of fecal matter can end up in the pool if people don't rinse off before diving in.

@body:And don't forget to have fun! Enjoying the water during the summer is a great way to relax. Remembering these few tips, using sunscreen, and always keeping your eye on children around water can guarantee a healthy trip to the pool.

Information from