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Make a Healthy Splash: Share the Fun, Not the Germs

By Florida Department of Health - Bay County

May 15, 2015

Healthy and Safe Swimming Week 2015 


May 15, 2015 (850) 872-4455

Healthy and Safe Swimming Week 2015

Make a Healthy Splash: Share the Fun, Not the Germs

Bay County – The week before Memorial Day (May 18-24, 2015) is Healthy and Safe Swimming Week. The goal of this 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. 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.

Illnesses caused by the germs in the places we swim: In 2011 - 2012, almost 100 outbreaks were linked to swimming. Chlorine and other disinfectants kill most germs within minutes, but some can survive for days. Urine and sweat mix with chlorine and form chemicals that can make our eyes red and trigger asthma attacks. 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 bathroom breaks every 60 minutes, or check diapers every 30-60 minutes.

Drowning: Every day, two children less than 14 years old die from drowning. It is the leading cause of injury death for children 1-4 years old.

Keep Swimmers Safe in the Water

• Make sure everyone knows how to swim.

• Use life jackets appropriately.

• Provide continuous, attentive supervision close to swimmers.

• Know CPR (for older children and adults).

• Prevent access to water when pool is not in use. oInstall and maintain barriers.

oUse 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 3,000-5,000 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. oAdd pool chemical to water, NEVER water to pool chemical.


For more information about Healthy and Safe Swimming Week 2015, contact the Florida Department of Health in Bay County’s Environmental Health Division at 850-872-4660, ext. 1268 or visit

The Department works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts. The Department is recognizing 125 years of public health in Florida with educational opportunities and events. Please visitwww.FLHealth125.govfor more information.

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