Summer is here, and in Colorado, it starts the busy swimming season! Swimming is a great way to stay physically active, have fun and relax while enjoying the company of friends and family. El Paso County Public Health (EPCPH) wants to remind swimmers to protect themselves and their loved ones from getting sick while enjoying the pool, hot tub/spa, or water playground.
You can get swimming-related illnesses if you swallow, have contact with, or breathe in mists or aerosols from water contaminated with germs. You can also get them through contact with chemicals in the water. The most common symptoms caused by swimming-related illnesses are diarrhea, skin rashes, ear pain, cough or congestion, and eye pain.
We all share the water we swim in. That means we must do our part to help keep ourselves, our families, and our friends healthy. To help protect yourself and those you care about, here are a few easy and effective steps all swimmers can take each time they swim, play, or relax in the water:
Shower before you get in the water. Rinsing off in the shower for just one minute removes most of the dirt or anything else on your body that uses up chlorine or bromine needed to kill germs.
Stay out of the water if you are sick with diarrhea.
Stay out of the water if you have an open cut or wound (particularly from surgery or a piercing). If you go in the water, use waterproof bandages to completely cover the cut or wound.
Additionally, it’s important to check out the latest inspection reports for public pools, hot tubs/spas before going out. EPCPH plays a role in keeping swimming a safe and healthy activity, and inspection reports are available here. The environmental health team –who completes over 350 annual inspections at public pools and spas throughout the county—works to assure operators of these facilities understand what is most important in maintaining a high level of water quality that is free of contamination.