Protect Against Germs While Swimming

6 hygiene steps for healthy swimming.
A refreshing dip in the pool sounds like the perfect way to spend a hot sunny afternoon. But before you take that plunge, pay attention to how you can avoid germs while swimming.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), recreational water sites such as swimming pools and water parks can become contaminated with germs and put people at risk of contracting recreational water illnesses (RWIs) through contaminated water. RWIs include a variety of infections from gastrointestinal, skin, ear, respiratory, eye, and wound infections.

Everybody plays a part in keeping the pool safe, so practice these six steps to protect yourself and others from getting sick.

  1. Don't swallow the pool water. And avoid getting water in your mouth. Contrary to popular belief, chlorine does not kill all germs instantly -- swallowing just a little water that contains these germs can make you sick.
  2. Do practice good hygiene. Shower with soap before entering the pool and wash your hands after using the toilet or changing diapers. Germs on your body end up in the water.
  3. Don't swim when you have diarrhea. You can spread germs in the water and make other people sick.
  4. Take your kids on bathroom breaks or check diapers often. Waiting to hear "I have to go" may mean that it's too late.
  5. Change diapers in a bathroom or a diaper-changing area -- not at the poolside. Germs can be spread in and around the pool.
  6. Wash your child thoroughly (especially the rear end) with soap and water before swimming. Invisible amounts of fecal matter can end up in the pool.

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