Health and Family Services Cabinet
Remember Pool Safety this Swim Season
Cleaning Products, Bacteria can Lead to Injuries and Illness
As part of National Recreational Water Illness Prevention Week May 18-24, the Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) is offering advice to help prevent swimming-related illness and injuries.
Recreational Water Illnesses (RWIs) are illnesses spread by swallowing, breathing in vapors of, or having contact with contaminated water in swimming pools, water parks, spas, interactive fountains, lakes or rivers.
“This is the time of year when many Kentuckians are spending more time outdoors, engaging in activities like swimming and waters sports,” said William Hacker, M.D., DPH commissioner. “While we encourage all Kentuckians to take part in these activities, it’s extremely important to follow public health guidelines to protect yourself and your loved ones from water-associated illnesses and injuries.”
This year, DPH is emphasizing the importance of preventing injuries caused by chemicals used to treat pool water. Typically, these chemicals are used to sanitize pools. However, injuries can occur in the absence of proper precautions.
Pool operators and residential pool owners should remember to secure pool chemicals and keep children and animals away; read products’ names and manufacturers’ directions before each use and always use appropriate protective gear; and never mix chlorine products with each other, acid or other substances.
To prevent RWIs, DPH recommends that swimmers avoid the pool when experiencing gastrointestinal problems or illness; don’t swallow pool water; shower with soap before swimming and wash hands after using the toilet or changing diapers; take children on bathroom breaks or check diapers often; change diapers in a bathroom or a diaper-changing area and not at poolside; and wash children thoroughly with soap and water before they go swimming.
DPH also recommends that swimmers stay away from all bottom and side pool drains to minimize any suction entrapment hazards.
For more information about healthy swimming, visit www.chfs.ky.gov/dph/info/phps , www.cdc.gov/healthyswimming or www.epa.gov/beaches or contact a local health department environmental health professional.