Recreational Water Illness and Injury Prevention Week, May 20–26, is a week dedicated to raising awareness about healthy and safe swimming. Thousands of Americans get sick with recreational water illnesses caused by germs found in places where we swim every year, and the Centers for Disease Control are urging swimmers to be careful about what they bring into the water.
If you’ve ever been swimming and your eyes turned red and began to sting, you may have thought it was due to the chlorine – but that’s not actually the case. Rather, di- and tri-chloramides form when chlorine combines with urine or sweat and other contaminants in the water, irritating the eyes and respiratory tract. What’s worse is when these chloramides form, they use up the chlorine in the pool and hinder its ability to kill germs.
To stay safe and healthy while swimming, don’t swim when you have diarrhea, shower with soap before you start swimming, take bathroom breaks every hour, and wash your hands after using the restroom or changing diapers. Check the chlorine and pH levels before getting into the water, don’t swallow the water you swim in, and take children on bathroom breaks every hour or check diapers every half-hour.
For more information about healthy swimming, visit www.cdc.gov/healthyswimming.