Practice healthy swimming behaviors to stay cool and safe

(Update 7/14/2013) If in doubt – stay out. Recent high temperatures and rain can combine to create harmful blue-green algae in lakes and ponds.  This type of algae can harm pets, livestock, and even people.

Not all blue-green algae are toxic, but there is no visual way to predict whether a blue-green algal bloom contains toxins and is harmful to humans or animals. Harmful blooms often look like pea soup, green paint, or floating mats of scum, and they often have a bad odor. Don’t take the chance: If in doubt – stay out.

Don’t bring germs with you.  It’s hot and everyone is heading for the pool or swimming beach – but don’t bring germs with you.  Anoka County Community Health wants you to take smart precautions to stay cool and healthy.

Germs on and in swimmers’ bodies end up in the water and can make other people sick,” said Dr. Kirk Smith, epidemiology supervisor for the Minnesota Department of Health. “Even healthy swimmers can get sick from recreational water, but the young, elderly, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems are especially at risk.”

The best way to prevent recreational water illnesses is to keep germs out of the water in the first place:

  • Don’t swim when you have diarrhea.
  • Don’t swallow pool or lake water.
  • Practice good hygiene. Shower with soap before swimming.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly after using the toilet or changing diapers.
  • Take children on bathroom breaks or change diapers often.
  • Change diapers in a bathroom, not at poolside or beachside.

For information about healthy swimming go to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Healthy Swimming web page. To report a suspected waterborne or swimming illness, call the Foodborne and Waterborne Illness Hotline at 1-877-366-3455.

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