Recreational Water Illness and Injury Prevention Week 2014

Recreational Water Illness and Injury Prevention Week 2014
Healthy and Safe Swimming: We’re in it Together

The week before Memorial Day (May 19-25, 2014) is Recreational Water Illness and Injury (RWII) Prevention Week.  The goal of RWII Prevention Week is to maximize the health benefits of swimming by promoting healthy and safe swimming.  Just 2.5 hours of water-based (or other forms of) physical activity per week has health benefits across a lifetime.

Illnesses can result from germs found in the places we swim.  In 2009-2010, 57 outbreaks were linked to pools.  Remember, chlorine and other disinfectants kill most germs within minutes, but some can survive for days.  Bodily waste and sweat mix with chlorine to form chemicals that can make our eyes red and trigger asthma attacks.  So it is important to keep germs, and bodily waste, out of the water we all swim in.

The Department of Public Health and Social Services encourages everyone to prevent Recreational Water Illness and Injury.  We each play a role in preventing injuries; the following are simple and effective prevention steps we can all take:

1.  All swimmers:
        a. Stay out of water if you have diarrhea.
        b. Check the chlorine level and pH with test strips before getting into water.  Proper chlorine levels (1-3 mg/L or parts per million [ppm] and pH (7.2-7.8) maximize germ-killing power.
        c. Shower with soap before you start swimming.
        d. Don’t discharge bodily waste in the water.
        e. Don’t swallow the water
2.  Parents of young children, take children on bathroom breaks every 60 minutes, or check diapers every 30-60 minutes.

For more information, please call the Division of Environmental Health at 735-7221.


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