News Flash

Summit County Government

Posted on: May 25, 2021

Summit County Healthy and Safe Swimming Week May 24-30

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Contacts: Steve Prosise 970-668-4071, Dan Hendershott 970-668-4073, Adam Kisiel 970-409-7053 

SUMMIT COUNTY— Swimming is a fun, healthy way to stay physically active and spend quality time with family and friends. Healthy and Safe Swimming Week highlights the roles that swimmers, parents, aquatics and beach staff, residential pool owners, and public health officials play in preventing disease outbreaks, drowning, and pool chemical injuries. 

The week before Memorial Day has served as an opportunity to encourage the community to adopt safety practices for summer swimming each year during Healthy and Safe Swimming Week. The goal of this year’s awareness week May 24- 30, is to maximize the health benefits of swimming while minimizing the risk of illness and injury to children, adults, and pets. Just 2.5 hours of physical activity every week, including water-based physical activity, can benefit everyone’s health. Each of us plays a role in preventing illnesses and injuries related to the water we swim, play, and relax in—this summer and year-round.

Why Is This Important?

Illnesses caused by germs in pools and hot tubs

A new CDC report shows that during 2015–2019, over 200 outbreaks were linked to pools, hot tubs, and water playgrounds.

Cryptosporidium (or Crypto) can make swimmers sick if they swallow just a mouthful of contaminated water. Although most germs are killed within minutes by chlorine or bromine at the recommended levels, Crypto is a germ that can survive in properly treated water for more than 7 days.

For more info, visit the Healthy Swimming website.

A Few Simple but Effective Prevention Steps We Can All Take

Before getting in:

  • Don’t swim or let others swim if sick with diarrhea.
  • Shower for at least 1 minute before you get into the water to remove dirt or anything else on your body.
    • Chlorine mixed with dirt, sweat, pee, and poop creates chemicals that make swimmers’ eyes red and sting.
    • When chlorine mixes with dirt, sweat, pee, and poop, there is less chlorine available to kill germs.

Once you are in:

  • Don’t swallow the water.
  • Don’t pee or poop in the water.
  • Take kids on frequent bathroom breaks and check diapers every hour.
    • Change diapers away from the water to keep germs from getting in.
    • Dry ears thoroughly with a towel after swimming.

For healthy swimming information visit the Health Promotion Materials and Steps for Healthy Swimming pages.

Drowning 

Drowning is the leading cause of injury-related death for children 1–4 years old. While children are at highest risk, anyone can drown. For more info, visit the Unintentional Drowning: Get the Facts website.

A Few Simple but Effective Prevention Steps We Can All Take

Stay safe in and around the water

  • Make sure everyone has basic swimming and water safety skills. The Town of Breckenridge Recreation Center and Silverthorne Recreation Center offer swimming lessons for children.
  • Use U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets as directed.
  • Designate a responsible adult to closely and constantly supervise swimmers. A flotation device is not a substitute for adult supervision.
  • Know how to recognize and respond to a swimmer in distress and how to perform CPR.

Keep backyard pools safe

  • Prevent access to water when pool is not in use.
  • Install and maintain barriers that fully enclose the pool and separate it from the house, like 4-sided fencing.
  • Use locks/alarms for windows and doors.

Harmful Algae and Cyanobacterial Blooms

Algae and cyanobacteria (sometimes called blue-green algae) can overgrow or bloom in warm, nutrient-rich water. Some of these blooms can harm people, animals, and the environment. These events are referred to as a harmful algal or cyanobacterial blooms (HABs).

If harmful algal or cyanobacterial blooms produce toxins, they can cause a variety of symptoms, including skin irritation, coughing, sneezing, diarrhea, stomach pain, numbness, and dizziness. Symptoms vary depending on the type of toxin and the type of exposure, such as skin contact, eating contaminated food, swallowing contaminated water, or breathing in tiny contaminated droplets or mist.

For more info, visit the Harmful Algal Blooms website.

A Few Simple but Effective Prevention Steps We Can All Take

Avoid water that contains harmful algal or cyanobacterial blooms—when in doubt, stay out!

  • Look for posted signs or other advisories from local public health authorities or beach managers. If the beach is closed or if there is guidance to avoid the water, stay out and keep your pets out!
  • Do not go into or play in water that:
    • Smells bad
    • Looks discolored
    • Has foam, scum, algal mats, or paint-like streaks on the surface
    • Has dead fish or other animals washed up on its shore or beach
  • Keep children and pets from playing in or drinking scummy water.
  • If you or your pets go in water that may have a bloom, rinse yourself and your pets immediately afterward with tap water. Do not let pets lick their fur until they have been rinsed. Pets may have harmful algae, cyanobacteria, or related toxins on their fur if they swim or play in water with a bloom.

     

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