As Oklahomans gear up to visit lakes, rivers, pools and splash pads, the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) is providing some water safety tips. May 23-29 is National Healthy and Safe Swimming Week. Follow these helpful tips all season long to avoid recreational water illnesses.
Healthy swimming behaviors include the following:
1. Stay out of the water if you have diarrhea. You can spread germs in the water and make other people sick.
2. Shower before you get in the water.
3. Don’t pee or poop in the water.
4. Don’t swallow the water. Avoid getting water in your mouth.
5. Every hour – everyone out. Take kids on bathroom breaks. Check diapers and change them in a bathroom or diaper-changing area—not poolside—to keep germs away from the pool. Wash hands with soap and water after changing diapers and using toilet.
6. Diapered children: Children who are not yet toilet-trained should wear swim diapers in the pool and lake. Swim diapers & swim pants are not a substitute for frequent diaper changing and bathroom breaks. Check swim diapers and swim pants frequently. Wash your child thoroughly with soap and water before swimming, especially the diapered area.
7. Check the free chlorine level and pH before getting into the water. (Avoid swimming in a pool that has cloudy or off-colored water. If you cannot see the main bottom drain, stay out of the pool.)
Lake Safety: Last year, harmful algal blooms (HAB) continued to be present in Oklahoma lakes. HABs can produce toxins that result in illness in humans and animals. Direct contact with water that has these blooms can result in a skin rash; eye, ear and throat irritation; asthma-like symptoms; diarrhea, vomiting or abdominal cramps. Do not swim or participate in other recreational activities where the water is murky or blue, bright green, red, or brown algae mats appear or if the water has an unpleasant odor.
Find more tips and safety information here.