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Florida Department of Health in Bay County Healthy and Safe Swimming Week 2021

May 18, 2021

Panama City - The week before Memorial Day (May 24–30, 2021) is Healthy and Safe Swimming Week. The goal of this year’s awareness week is to maximize the health benefits of swimming while minimizing the risk of illness and injury. Just 2 ½ hours of physical activity every week, including water-based physical activity, can benefit everyone’s health. Each of us plays a role in preventing illnesses and injuries related to the water we swim, play, relax in, and share—this summer and year-round. We each play a role in preventing illnesses, caused by germs in the water we share and swim in, and injuries, such as drowning or those caused by mishandling pool chemicals.

“Recreational swimming is a great way for families to spend quality time together. We can all do our part to ensure that recreational swimming is safe for everyone” Said Sandon S. Speedling, MHS, CPM, CPH, Administrator and Health Officer, DOH-Bay.

A new CDC report shows that during 2015 – 2019, more than 200 outbreaks were linked to pools, hot tubs, and water playgrounds. Cryptosporidium (or “Crypto” for short) can make swimmers sick if they swallow just a mouthful of contaminated water. Although most germs are killed within minutes by chlorine or bromine at the recommended levels, Crypto can survive for more than 7 days in properly treated water. Diarrheal incidents in the water we share and swim in can easily spread germs and potentially cause outbreaks. It’s important to keep germs, feces, and urine out of the water.

Reduce the Risk of Illness

  • Stay out of the water if you have diarrhea.
  • Ensure that the chlorine and pH are at the proper levels.
  • Shower with soap before you start swimming.
  • Do not urinate or have a bowel movement in the pool.
  • Don’t swallow the water.
  • Take children on frequent bathroom breaks, and check diapers every 30-60 minutes.
  • Change diapers in a bathroom or diaper changing area – not poolside – to keep germs away from the pool.

Drowning: Every day, approximately two children less than 15 years old die from drowning. It is the leading cause of injury death for children 1-4 years old. While children are at highest risk, anyone can drown.  

            Keep Swimmers Safe in the Water

  • Make sure everyone knows how to swim.
  • Use life jackets appropriately.
  • Provide continuous, attentive adult supervision close to swimmers.
  • Know CPR (for older children and adults).
  • Prevent access to water when pool is not in use.
    • Install and maintain barriers.
    • Use locks/alarms for windows and doors.

Injuries caused by mishandling pool chemicals: Pool chemicals are added to the water to kill germs and maximize disinfection. Each year, however, mishandling pool chemicals leads to approximately 4,500 visits to emergency departments across the United States.           

            Swimming Pool Chemical Safety

  • Read and follow directions on product labels.
  • Wear appropriate safety equipment, such as googles 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 pool.
  • 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 chemicals to water, NEVER water to pool chemicals.

For more information about Healthy and Safe Swimming Week 2021, contact the Florida Department of Health in Bay County’s Environmental Health Division at 850-481-4806 or visit https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/swimming/safe-swimming-week/index.html.The department, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.

Follow us on Twitter at @HealthyFla and on Facebook. For more information about the Florida Department of Health please visit www.FloridaHealth.gov.

About the Florida Department of Health

The department, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.

Follow us on Twitter at @HealthyFla and on Facebook. For more information about the Florida Department of Health please visit www.FloridaHealth.gov.