Enjoy the Water but Be Safe


2009 National Recreational Water Illness Prevention Week: Focus on Preventing Pool Chemical Injuries

BINGHAMTON, NYThe week before Memorial Day (May 18–24, 2009) has been designated as National Recreational Water Illness Prevention Week. The goal of this observance is to raise awareness about healthy swimming behaviors, including ways to prevent recreational water illnesses (RWIs) and injuries.  RWIs are illnesses spread by swallowing, breathing in vapors of, or having contact with contaminated water in swimming pools, water parks, spas, interactive fountains, lakes, rivers, or oceans. Injuries at aquatics facilities can occur in or out of the water.
This year’s RWI Prevention Week theme: pool chemical injuries
The theme for this year’s RWI Prevention Week focuses on injuries associated with pool chemicals. Pool chemicals make the water where we swim safer by protecting us from germs; however, these same chemicals can also cause injuries if they are not properly handled. This type of preventable injury leads to thousands of emergency room visits each year. Public pool operators and residential pool owners can protect themselves and swimmers by taking these key steps: 
  • ALWAYS secure pool chemicals: Keep children and animals away.
  • ALWAYS read product name and manufacturer’s directions before each use.
  • ALWAYS use appropriate protective gear, such as safety glasses and gloves, when handling pool chemicals.
  • NEVER mix chlorine products with each other, acid, or other substances.
To access a complete set of prevention recommendations, visit www.cdc.gov/healthyswimming/pdf/pool_chem_assoc_inj.pdf.
Recreational Water Illnesses (RWIs)
The best way to prevent RWIs is to keep germs out of the pool in the first place. Everyone can help create healthy swimming experiences this summer by following these seven healthy swimming steps:
  • PLEASE don’t swim when you have diarrhea.
  • PLEASE don’t swallow pool water.
  • PLEASE don’t spit or blow your nose in the pool water.
  • PLEASE practice good hygiene. Shower with soap before swimming and wash your hands after using the toilet or changing diapers.
  • PLEASE take your kids on bathroom breaks or check diapers often.
  • PLEASE change diapers in a bathroom or a diaper-changing area and not at poolside.
  • PLEASE wash your children thoroughly (especially the rear end) with soap and water before they go swimming.
For more information about healthy swimming, visit:
CDC’s Healthy Swimming website at www.cdc.gov/healthyswimming
The Environmental Protection Agency’s beaches website www.epa.gov/beaches


05/20/2009 - 10:00am