PRESS RELEASE CONTACT: Nancy Niehus, (440) 350-2860
May 16, 2012 LAKE COUNTY GENERAL HEALTH DISTRICT
PREVENTING DROWNING AND RECREATIONAL WATER ILLNESS -
HEALTHY AND SAFE SWIMMING
The week before Memorial Day (May 21 - 27, 2012) is Recreational Water Illness and Injury Prevention Week. Every year, thousands of Americans get sick with recreational water illnesses (RWIs), which are caused by germs found in places where we swim. Every day, two children under the age of 14 years old die from drowning. Drowning is the leading cause of injury death for children one to four years old. Healthy and safe swimming means preventing the spread of the germs that cause RWIs and keeping children safe from drowning.
Drowning is preventable, although each year thousands die and more are left with long-term consequences including memory problems, learning disabilities, and permanent loss of basic functioning (e.g., permanent vegetative state). To reduce the risk of drowning:
- Prepare by making sure that:
- Everyone knows how to swim; and
- Older children and adults know CPR.
- When in the water, keep swimmers safe by:
- Using Coast Guard approved life jackets that fit for younger or weaker swimmers;
- Providing responsible supervision of swimmers, even if there is a lifeguard; and
- Avoiding alcohol and drugs when swimming or watching swimmers.
- When NOT in the water, prevent access to the water by:
- Installing and maintaining barriers (for pools: 4-sided fencing and weight-bearing covers); and
- Using locks or alarms for windows and doors.
For more information about drowning prevention, visit
RWIs are also preventable, but prevention requires swimmers to take an active role in protecting themselves and other swimmers. Simple steps swimmers can take to help prevent the spread of germs that cause RWIs include:
- Don't swim when you have diarrhea. You can spread germs in the water and make others sick.
- Don't swallow pool water. Avoid getting water in your mouth.
- Practice good hygiene. Shower with soap before swimming and wash your hands after using the toilet or changing diapers. Germs on your body end up in the water.
- Parents of young children should remember to
- Wash their children before swimming (especially their rear ends).
- Check diapers every 30–60 minutes. Change diapers in a bathroom or a diaper-changing area and not at poolside. Germs can spread in and around the pool.
- Take your kids to the bathroom every 30–60 minutes. Waiting to hear "I have to go" may mean that it's too late.
For more information about healthy swimming, visit www.cdc.gov/healthyswimming/.