XENIA — Greene County Public Health officials are reminding families that Monday-Sunday, May 21–27 is Healthy and Safe Swimming Week.
The goal of this week is to maximize the health benefits of swimming by promoting healthy and safe swimming. Just 2.5 hours of physical activity, including water-based, per week gives health benefits. Officials said individuals can help prevent illnesses caused by germs in water and injuries such as drowning or those caused by mishandling pool chemicals.
Illnesses caused by germs in the places we swim
According to Columbus officials, in 2016, a total of 107 cases of cryptosporidiosis (“Crypto”), the most common recreational water illness (RWI), were reported in Columbus, Franklin County and Delaware County, which is more cases than the area had seen in the previous three years combined. Chlorine and other disinfectants kill most germs within minutes, but some can survive for days. Pee, poop, sweat, and dirt from swimmers’ bodies mix with chlorine and form chemicals that can make our eyes red and trigger asthma attacks. Officials released a few prevention steps:
— Stay out of the water if you have diarrhea.
— Shower before you get in the water.
— Don’t pee or poop in the water.
— Don’t swallow the water.
— Every hour — everyone out!
— Take kids on bathroom breaks.
— Check diapers, and change them in a bathroom or diaper changing area — not poolside — to keep germs away from the pool.
— Reapply sunscreen.
— Drink plenty of fluids.
Dangers of Drowning
Every day, two children less than 14 years old die from drowning, officials report. It is the leading cause of injury death for children 1-4 years old. Individuals can help keep swimmers safe in the water by following these steps:
— Make sure everyone knows how to swim.
— Use life jackets appropriately.
— Provide continuous, attentive supervision close to swimmers.
— Know CPR.
— Prevent access to water when pool is not in use.
— Install and maintain barriers like 4-sided fencing and weight-bearing pool covers.
— Use locks/alarms for windows and doors.
Injuries caused by mishandling pool chemicals (for pool operators and residential pool owners)
Pool chemicals are added to the water to kill germs and maximize disinfection. Each year, mishandling of pool chemicals by pool operators and residential pool owners leads to 3,000-5,000 visits to emergency departments across the U.S. Here are a few prevention steps:
— Read and follow directions on product labels.
— Wear appropriate safety equipment, such as goggles and masks, as directed, when handling pool chemicals.
— Secure pool chemicals to protect people and animals.
— Add pool chemicals poolside only when directed by product label and when no one is in the water.
— Prevent violent, potentially explosive, reactions.
— NEVER mix different pool chemicals with each other, especially chlorine products with acid.
— Pre-dissolve pool chemicals only when directed by product label.
— Add pool chemical to water, never water to pool chemical.
To learn more, visit www.cdc.gov/healthyswimming. For more information about Greene County Public Health, visit the website at www.gcph.info or call 937-374-5600.