Water play can be the best part of summer activity. Swimming illnesses, however, can easily be contracted without taking certain safety precautions. In order to stay healthy and make the most of your leisure time, here are a few tips.

Checking out The Surf

If you’re going to be swimming in the ocean, many lifeguard stands have postings of water temperature and quality. Unfortunately, the water at some beaches is horribly polluted and can cause illness if ingested or enters a wound. If you’re concerned, you can always check out water quality and associated health questions at: https://www.epa.gov/beaches/find-information-about-your-beach.
Swimming pools should have a functioning filtering system. Avoid going into a pool where showering is not mandatory before entering. Chlorine in the water kills most germs in less than an hour. Some types of germs, however, take hours or days to kill, even in properly disinfected pools.  By the way, salt-water pools have chlorine too, so that’s helpful.

Swimming Illnesses

Specific types of illnesses can be contracted from germs in a body of water. They can enter through your mouth when you accidentally swallow the water. They can enter your bloodstream if the germs come in contact with an open wound. Your nose and ears are also susceptible to bacterial infection.
Recreational Water Illnesses (RWI) can cause gastrointestinal, respiratory, skin, and even neurologic infections. Probably the most common is Swimmer’s Ear. Swimmer’s ear occurs when water gets trapped in the ear canal. It’s an infection that can be bacterial or fungal.
You’ll know if your child gets an ear infection from swimming because his ear will hurt to touch it. The outside hurts, whereas a regular, non-water based infection usually hurts inside more. Hearing may decrease, and there may be a yellowish pus discharge.

How to Avoid…

Healthy swimming habits such as practicing good hygiene can keep illnesses at bay. If everyone washed his/her hands with soap and water after using the restroom, it would help tremendously. Also, anyone with diarrhea should not use a pool until they are well again.
Swimmer’s ear can be avoided by drying out your ears afterward being in the water. A towel or the corner of a washcloth can be used. Even a hairdryer pointed towards the ear, from about a foot away, can help. Cotton swabs should never be used to dry the ear canal because there’s danger of damaging your eardrum.
If you or your child develops a swimming illness like an earache, the doctor may prescribe antibiotic or antifungal drops. Keep the ear canal as dry as possible until the condition is cleared up. This may mean staying out of the lake, pool, ocean, or even bathtub for a few days.
Try not to let fear guide you. Being forewarned and taking precautions should enable you and your children to enjoy swimming to the max! For more short-reads and tips on keeping your family healthy and safe, check out www.GetThrive.com