This column appears in the Nevada Appeal Wednesday health pages. It addresses topics related to the health of our community.
It might be cool in Carson City this week, but the heat of summer is just around the corner. Soon, residents and visitors will be flocking to lakes, rivers and swimming pools to cool off. Carson City Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention remind everyone that recreational water safety is an important concern. From boating and swimming safety to recreational water illness prevention, there are risks around the water. With awareness and safe habits, you can swim safely this summer. With Memorial Day weekend on the horizon, now is the time to start thinking about water safety.
Recreational water illnesses are caused by germs in contaminated water in swimming pools and hot tubs; lakes, rivers and oceans; and other bodies of water. Here are a few easy and effective healthy steps all swimmers can take to help protect ourselves, our families and our friends from recreational water illnesses:
• Keep germs out of the water. If you are having symptoms of intestinal illness, don’t go swimming and risk spreading illness to others. It’s also a good idea to shower before getting in a pool or hot tub.
• The water is not a bathroom, and should not be used as one. You should get out of the water and use the nearest restroom. If you have young kids, take bathroom breaks every 60 minutes. Also, make sure to wash your hands before swimming again.
• Public pools check the chlorine for you, but if you have a home pool or spa, check the free chlorine level and pH before getting into the water. If it’s not adequate, add the proper amount of chemicals according to the manufacturer’s instructions before swimming.
• Don’t drink the water you swim in. This is important for everyone, but especially important for parents of young children, who are more susceptible to illness. There can be germs in the water, and kids don’t always understand the risks. Make sure you provide a clean source of drinking water, not the water that you’re swimming in.
Sometimes, germs in the water can’t be prevented, but we can make the water a safer, more fun place to be this summer.
For more information about other Health Department services, visit www.gethealthy carsoncity.org or visit us at www.facebook.com/cchhs.