MOREHEAD CITY – This is National Healthy and Safe Swimming Week, and officials with the state’s recreational water quality section are asking swimmers to take simple steps to help ensure a healthy and safe swimming experience for everyone.
The theme for this year is “Make a Healthy Splash: Share the Fun, not the Germs,” focusing attention on swimmer hygiene and the role it plays in the prevention of recreational water illness outbreaks.
While healthy people can get sick from recreational water illnesses, those with weakened immune systems are especially at risk.
- To avoid the spread of germs, follow these simple guidelines:
- Do not swim if you have diarrhea.
- Shower before swimming.
- Wash your hands after using the toilet or changing diapers.
- Place tight-fitting swim diapers on children and check diapers before entering the water.
- Take children on frequent bathroom breaks.
- Clean up after your pets.
Avoid feeding shore birds at or near swimming areas.
Stormwater runoff can also cause unsafe swimming conditions, as well, because it can contain pollutants such as waste from septic systems and sewer line breaks, pets and wildlife. People have an increased risk of becoming sick from swimming in coastal waters after a heavy rain, so state officials recommend avoiding swimming in these areas for up to 24 hours after the rain has stopped.
Also, summer weather can bring significant amounts of rainfall in a short period of time and cause temporary flooding.
“Children, in particular, see these flooded areas as an opportunity to take a swim,” said J.D. Potts, manager of the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries’ Recreational Water Quality Program. “People swimming in ponding stormwater put themselves at an increased risk of becoming ill. People should also avoid swimming in these areas while storm drains are actively discharging.”