Make a healthy splash: share the fun, not the germs

May 18–24, 2015, the week before Memorial Day, marks the eleventh annual Healthy and Safe Swimming Week. Swimming is one of the most popular sports activities in the United States. Pools, waterparks, hot tubs/spas, splash pads, and water playgrounds are great places to have fun, be active, or just relax. Have fun while you swim but know how to stay healthy and safe while enjoying the water!

The best way to prevent recreational water illnesses is to keep germs out of the water in the first place. Swimmers can protect themselves and others by following these six tips:

  • 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.
  • Don’t swim when you have diarrhea.
  • Take children on bathroom breaks or change diapers often.
  • Change diapers in a bathroom, not at poolside or beachside.

Chlorinated water is not a guarantee against being exposed to germs in the water,” said Trisha Robinson, a Minnesota Department of Health epidemiologist specializing in waterborne diseases. “The best protective measure is for everyone to do their part to keep the germs out.

To report a suspected waterborne illness, call the Minnesota Department of Health’s Foodborne and Waterborne Illness Hotline at 1-877-FOODILL (or 651-201-5655 from the Twin Cities).

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