Safety Tips to Avoid Waterborne Illness While You Swim

Nekdoodle® understands that aquatic adventurers are in a hurry to enjoy water activities when they see a body of water. In their haste to jump in and get wet, it can be easy to ignore posted or televised warnings about dangers in the waters. These advisories are often posted because water samples have indicated that harmful bacteria, viruses, protozoa, or parasites are likely present in the water.

Beach Closed Sign

Wait, bacteria? Viruses? In the water? How? Water is clean! Isn’t it?

Unfortunately, water isn’t always as clean as we’d like it to be. Polluted runoff and untreated sewage released into the water can expose swimmers to pathogens. Water sources near farms, especially those that raise pigs and chickens, can pollute local recreation areas with runoff. Pollution is also created when the people who are taking advantage of recreational areas leave trash or waste at the beach.

Although potential bacterial, viral, and parasitic hazards do exist, those of us who love water recreation can still have a fun day out in the sun without a week of bedridden illness by following a few simple tips:

  • Observe any and all posted warning signs. They are there for your safety.
  • In areas that are not monitored regularly, choose swimming sites in less developed areas with good water circulation, such as beaches at the ocean.
  • Avoid swimming at beaches where you can see discharge pipes or at urban beaches after a heavy rainfall.
  • When in doubt, avoid ingesting the water and keep your head above water.
  • Do your part to remove pollution from areas near water, such as debris from family gatherings, holidays, or a long day at the shoreline (this means removing trash when you see it, whether it’s yours or not).

If all your water-related activities take place in a pool, you may think you’re immune to the dangers of water pollutants. However, personal hygiene can negatively affect the cleanliness of your pool water. Here are a few hygiene guidelines for swimming pools:

  • Practice good hygiene. Shower with soap before swimming and wash hands after using the toilet or changing diapers. Germs on your body end up in the water.
  • Take your kids on bathroom breaks and check diapers often. All children who are not toilet-trained must wear swim diapers.
  • Change diapers only in a bathroom or labeled diaper-changing area and not poolside. Germs spread to the pool deck could also end up in the pool.
  • Wash your children thoroughly with soap and water before swimming.
  • Don’t swim within 14 days of being ill. Bacteria can linger even after symptoms have passed.
  • Don’t swallow pool water. After the other hygiene tips, this reasoning should be self-explanatory!

se closed beach 3With just a little bit of knowledge and preparation, you can still have a fantastic time at the pool or beach with your family and friends. If you do still end up feeling not so well after a day out, see your doctor immediately to shorten the duration of the illness and to keep you moving onto your next fun water activity! As always, Nekdoodle® encourages safe fun around the water!