Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

May 19, 2014

Precautions

Swimming is fun, but don’t forget to be safe

— With the outdoor swimming season about to start there are ways to prevent illness and injury. Three state of Maryland departments are attempting to increase public awareness of the dangers — and the precautions that can be taken.

The Departments of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Environment, and Natural Resources are combining efforts in the safety campaign.

Although drowning deaths are the No. 1 concern, there also are health problems caused by exposure to bacteria and chemicals as well as waterborne infections and outbreaks.

To prevent illness, keep these tips in mind:

• Don’t swim with an open sore or wound.

• Don’t swim if you have diarrhea. You can spread germs in the water and make others sick.

• Don’t swallow pool or beach water. Avoid getting water in your mouth.

• Wash hands after changing diapers, using the restroom, and before eating or handling food.

• Shower with soap before and after swimming in a pool.

• Change diapers in a bathroom or a diaper-changing area and not poolside.

• At the beach, take diapers to trash cans or store in a secure bag to be thrown out at home.

• Take your children to the bathroom every 30-60 minutes. Waiting to hear "I have to go" may mean that it’s too late.

• Stay out of the water if it has a strange color.

• Avoid swimming in natural waters within 48 hours of a heavy rain event.

• Know before you go. Check the Maryland Healthy Beaches website for the advisory status of swimming beaches.

• ​Use sunscreen frequently throughout the day — every day — to avoid skin cancer and burns.

 • Stay hydrated and in the shade to help avoid illness such as sunstroke.​

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