(Toms River) – The goal of Healthy and Safe Swimming Week – May 23-29 – is to maximize the health benefits of swimming and other water-based activities while minimizing the risk of illness and injury. Each of us can play a role in preventing illnesses and injuries when we swim, play, and relax in the water – this summer and year-round.
“We want our residents, visitors – and even their pets – to enjoy the warm weather months swimming and recreating in public and private pools, spa’s and other bathing beach locations throughout the county,” said Daniel Regenye, Ocean County Health Department Public Health Coordinator/Health Officer. “However, it’s so important we remind people to keep in mind the variety of potential hazards they may face and at the same time provide them with some key precautions to help prevent injury, catching or spreading germs and poisoning.”
Pools, spa’s & water playgrounds – Before getting in water do your own mini inspection:
- Check latest inspection results on state or local health department website or on-site.
- Make sure the drain at the bottom of the deep end is visible. Check that the drain covers appear to be secured and in good condition.
- Use test strips to make sure the water has a proper free chlorine (amount of chlorine available to kill germs) or bromine level and pH. Follow the manufacturer’s directions to ensure proper usage.
- Check for lifeguard(s): If on duty, they should be focused on swimmers and not distracted.
- If no lifeguard is on duty, find the location of the safety equipment, such as a rescue ring or pole.
- Make sure no chemicals are out in the open.
- Do not fill baby pools with water directly from lakes, rivers or ponds. The water could contain unsafe levels of germs.
- Stay out of the water if you are sick with diarrhea. If you have been diagnosed with Crypto, don’t go back in the water until 2 weeks after diarrhea has completely stopped.
- Stay out of the water if you have an open cut or wound (particularly from a surgery or piercing). If you do go in the water, use waterproof bandages to completely cover the cut or wound.
- Shower before you get in the water. Rinsing off in the shower for just 1 minute removes most of the dirt or anything else on your body that uses up chlorine or bromine needed to kill or inactivate germs.
Once you’re in:
- Don’t pee or defecate in the water.
- Don’t swallow the water.
- Use well-fitting, Coast Guard-approved life jackets, not air-filled toys (for example, water wings), for flotation assistance.
- Keep an eye on children at all times. Kids can drown in seconds and in silence.
- Take kids on bathroom breaks and check diapers every hour.
- Dry ears thoroughly after swimming.
If You’re at a Ocean, River or Lake:
- Check for beach or lake closure information on your state or local government website or signs on-site. (Visit ochd.com for bathing beach results/closures in Ocean County).
- Adhere to all beach rules regarding swimming areas and swim only near lifeguards.
- Be aware of riptides when swimming at ocean beaches.
- Protect your pets from getting sick by keeping them away from water with possible harmful algae or cyanobacteria. Bath them should you suspect you pet entered contaminated water.
- .Stay out if you see any pipes draining into or around the water.
- Do not fill baby pools with water directly from lakes, rivers or ponds. The water may contain unsafe levels of germs.
Wash your hands for 20 seconds before eating food, especially if you have been playing in or touching sand. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
For additional information regarding the Ocean County Health Department bathing beach water testing program, please visit www.ochd.org. You can also follow the Ocean County Health Department on Twitter @OCpublichealth or like us on Facebook. Download the Ocean County Health Department mobile app free from the Google Play/Android and Apple APP stores.