Recreational water illnesses (RWIs) are passed around through ingestion of or contact with contaminated water supplies, usually from public or private swimming pools or hot tubs. The chlorine that’s used to clean these water sources cannot kill germs instantly, so it’s up to every swimmer to practice hygienic and safe swimming. You can do this by following the three A’s for hygienic swimming, recommended by the CDC.
Who Should Learn This Information?
Anyone who is a parent taking their kids to swim or an individual swimmer should read and pay attention this information in order to prevent the spread of RWIs.
What Do You Do If…?
You are the pool owner.
Always ensure you being attentive of the chlorine levels in your own pool as well as the hygiene of those using the pool. Consider making it a rule to always rinse off before getting in the pool, and prioritize proper bathroom breaks instead of anyone going in the pool.
You are visiting a public or other private owned pool.
Follow the guidelines given in the next section to ensure you are helping to stop the spread of RWIs and keeping yourself/your children as safe as possible.
Follow The Three A’s:
RWIs can be spread by a number of different types of germs. This includes the germs in poop, pee, sweat, dirt, and more. Rinsing off before swimming, using the bathroom facilities instead of the pool water, and keeping those with diarrhea out of the pool can all help to limit the germs exposed to the pool water.
In addition, if you are taking your kids swimming try to enforce an hourly routine of getting out of the pool for bathroom breaks, rehydration, and a short rest. Change any diapers away from the pool side to keep the germs out of the water.
Even at a public pool you can make sure that the hygiene of the water is appropriate. Talk to the pool caretaker and ask about chlorine levels and the latest pool hygiene inspection score to find out how safe the pool is for swimming.
Not everyone is aware of the steps needed to prevent RWIs from spreading around. This is important knowledge that should be shared with other parents and other swimmers. If you see someone acting against the hygiene standards laid out here, encourage them to follow a more hygienic route if possible. Make sure the pool caretaker at your local pool knows how important a safe swimming pool is to the parents and other swimmers in the community so that they are encouraged to take more actions to ensure a safe swimming environment for everyone.
RWIs can be spread easily, but they can also be prevented easily. Following the simple advice given in the three A’s of hygienic swimming can help to keep you and your family safe from disease and will also keep you from spreading disease to other pool areas.