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June 17, 2014

County Health Department Wants You to Enjoy a Safe Summer on the Water

Oswego- While everyone gears up to enjoy the warm weather, the Oswego County Health Department wants people to enjoy the season and maximize the health benefits of swimming by promoting healthy and safe swimming.

"Just 2.5 hours of water-based physical activity per week has health benefits across a lifetime," said Public Health Director Jiancheng Huang. "We each play a role in preventing injuries, such as drowning or from mishandling pool chemicals, and illnesses caused by germs in the places we swim."

Drownings: Every day, two children under the age of 14 die from drowning. It is the leading cause of injury death for children 1 to 4 years old. To keep swimmers safe in the water,make sure everyone knows how to swim and use life jackets appropriately;provide continuous, attentive supervision close to swimmers and know CPR (for older children and adults);prevent access to water when the pool is not in use and install and maintain barriers like 4-sided fencing and weight-bearing pool covers. For more info visit: www.cdc.gov/homeand recreationalsaftey.

Injuries caused by mishandling pool chemicals (for pool operators and residential pool owners):Pool chemicals are added to the water to kill germs and maximize disinfection. Each year, however, mishandling pool chemicals leads to 3,000 to 5,000 visits to emergency departments across the U.S. When performing pool maintenance, read and follow directions on product labels;wear appropriate safety equipment, such as goggles and maskswhen handling pool chemicals; secure pool chemicals to protect people and animals and add pool chemicals poolside ONLY when directed by product label and when no one is in the water. To prevent violent, potentially explosive reactions, never mix different pool chemicals with each other, especially chlorine products with acid. Never pre-dissolve pool chemicals unless directed by the product label and add pool chemical to water, NEVER water to pool chemical.(For more info visit: www.cdc/healthywaters)

Illnesses caused by the germs in the places we swim: In 2009-2010, 57 disease outbreaks across the U.S. were linked to pools. Chlorine and other disinfectants kill most germs within minutes, but some can survive for days. Urine and sweat mix with chlorine and form chemicals that can make our eyes red and trigger asthma attacks.

To prevent illnesses caused by germs in swimming pools,swimmers should stay out of the water if they have diarrhea. Swimmers should shower with soap before swimming. Do not swallow pool water. Swimmers should not have bowel movements or urinate in pool water and parents of young children should take children on bathroom breaks every 60 minutes, or check diapers every 30-60 minutes. Check the chlorine level and pH with test strips before getting into the water. Proper chlorine levels maximize germ-killing power. (For more info visit: www.cdc.gov.

The Environmental Division of the Oswego County Health Department works throughout the year to ensure the public's safety by regulating bathing facilities at public pools and beaches, campgrounds, temporary residences and children's camps. Environmental health inspectors ensure that the operators of these facilities:

  • Maintain proper supervision.

  • Provide adequate and accessible life saving equipment.

  • Adhere to approved safety plans.

  • Reduce the incidence of Recreational Water Illness (RWI) by maintaining proper disinfectant levels and pH in pools and closing beaches when the water quality is not acceptable.

  • Confirm pool areas are properly enclosed and secured and swimming is prohibited when the beach or pool is closed or unsupervised.

  • For more information on water safety, visit: www.cdc.gov/healthywater or call the Oswego County Health Department at 315-349-3557.

    Sandy Island Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Central New York. As more and more people take to the beaches and pools with the approach of summer, the Oswego County Health Department reminds people to follow water safety rules and make sure that children are closely supervised when they're around the water.

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