Ridgefield, New Jersey

photos of Ridgefield
Healthy Swimming

Healthy Swimming Prevents Disease

 This summer, swimming pools will be filled with millions of people having fun and staying cool. Swimming is the second most popular physical activity in the country – walking is first – and the most popular among children. But swimming can be associated with drowning, injury, and the spread of infectious diseases if good hygiene is not practiced.

Did you know that germs can contaminate swimming water even if it is treated with chlorine? Swimmers who are ill with diarrhea and children who are not yet toilet trained can contaminate the water if they have an “accident” in the pool. Learning about recreational water illnesses (RWIs), which are spread by swimming in contaminated recreational waters such as swimming pools, water-parks, lakes, and the ocean, can protect you from illness.

RWIs are caused by germs like “Crypto”, Giardia, E. Coli 0157:H7, and Shigella and are spread by accidentally swallowing water that has been contaminated with fecal matter. How does a pool get contaminated? You share the water with everyone in the pool; if someone with diarrhea contaminates the water, swallowing the water can make you sick. Children, pregnant women and persons with compromised immune systems are at greatest risk from infection.

The great news is that chlorine in swimming pools kills the germs that may make people sick, but it takes time and some germs like “Crypto” are resistant to chlorine and can live in pools for days. That is why even the best maintained pools can spread illness. Therefore, healthy swimming behaviors are needed to protect you and your kids from RWIs and will help stop germs from getting in the pool in the first place.

 Here are six “PLEAs” that promote Healthy Swimming:

  • PLEASE don’t swim when you have diarrhea. This is especially important for kids in diapers. You can spread germs in the water and make other people sick.
  • PLEASE don’t swallow the pool water. In fact, avoid getting water your mouth.
  • PLEASE practice good hygiene. Take a shower before swimming and wash your hands after using the toilet or changing diapers. Germs on your body end up in the water.
  • PLEASE take your kids on bathroom breaks or change diapers often. Waiting to hear “I have to go” may mean that it’s too late.
  • PLEASE change diapers in a bathroom and not at poolside. Germs can spread to surfaces and objects in and around the pool and spread illness.
  • PLEASE wash your child thoroughly (especially the rear end) with soap and water before swimming. Everyone has invisible amounts of fecal matter on their bottoms that ends up in the pool.

Swim diapers combined with rubber pants are strongly recommended for young children. For older children, frequent reminders on bathroom breaks would greatly help minimize the potential for an “accident”. Good hygiene and good communication with your children are the keys to water quality. For more information on recreational water illnesses (RWI) and healthy swimming, visit the CDC website at www.cdc.gov.

Home | About Us | Legal Notices | Boards & Committees | Borough Code | Borough Directory | Mayor and Council | Public Safety | Departments | Forms & Applications | Tenant Advocate | Material Safety Data Sheets | Outdoor Alerting System Status | Information Notification System | Website Map | Save the Date | Agendas & Minutes | Service Request | E-Mail Updates | Helpful Links
Government Websites by Catalis
Printer-friendly Version