ASHVILLE (WATE) – As summer vacations begin, the Tennessee Department of Health wants to remind people to remember water safety before enjoying time at the pool, ocean or other swimming destinations.
Recreational water illnesses, or RWIs, can be caused by germs spread to people by swallowing water or having contact with contaminated water in swimming pools, water parks, hot tubs, fountains, lakes, rivers, springs ponds or oceans. Bacteria, viruses and parasites can end up in the water, making you and other people sick.
‘’The best way to prevent RWIs is by taking steps to keep germs out of the pool or other swimming places,” said Deputy State Epidemiologist John Dunn, DVM, PhD. ‘’It’s very important not to swallow the water you swim or play in and to be aware of the physical hazards in and around pools and lakes.”
7 ways to prevent RWIs:
- Don’t swim if you have diarrhea
- Shower with soap before and after swimming
- Wash your hands after using the toilet or changing diapers
- Take children on frequent bathroom breaks or check diapers often
- Check and change diapers in a bathroom or a diaper-changing area, not at poolside
- Don’t swallow the water where you swim
- Read and follow directions for pool chemical use and storage
11 ways to prevent drowning
The Tennessee Department of Health says drowning is the leading cause of death in children under age 5. Eighty people died from drowning in Tennessee in 2014, 17 of which were under the age of 17. Near-drowning incidents can also lead to memory problems, learning disabilities and other permanent physical disabilities.
Ways to prevent drowning
- Make sure everyone knows how to swim
- If swimming in a lake or pond, do not dive without first checking the water depth and looking for underwater hazards.
- Match your water activity to your ability level.
- When operating a boat with an inboard motor, do not swim near the exhaust because of carbon monoxide exposure risk.
- Use life jackets appropriately.
- Provide constant, attentive supervision close to swimmers, even if a lifeguard is present.
- Know CPR.
- Don’t use alcohol and drugs when swimming or watching swimmers.
- Discourage horseplay and stunts.
- Install and maintain barriers around pools including fences and weight-bearing covers.
- Use locks or alarms for windows and doors