Before any member of your family hits the water this year - whether it's the pool, kiddie pool, hot tub, water park, ocean, lake, river - It's best to take a look at the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention's Healthy Swimming app. This comprehesive app covers ways to prevent recreational water illnesses, sunburn, and drowning. It's available for iPhones and iPads, but you can also find the information at the CDC's Healthy Swimming/Recreational Water Website.
After reading about parasites such as Crypto and other germs, I didn't feel compelled to go swimming anytime soon, but the agency reminds us that most people have safe and healthy swimming experiences. Plus, there are things that we can do to help prevent the spread of illnesses such as not going to swim if you have diarrhea, rinsing with soap and water before swimming, bathroom breaks every hour, and not drinking the water. Parents should change diapers in the bathroom or diaper changing area and not pool side.
Why should we spread the word about these tips? Unfortuately, chlorine and other disinfectants don't kill germs right away, and the mixing of pee and sweat uses up the chlorine in the pool that would otherwise kill germs, according to the CDC. There are also tips on how to recognize if a pool or a hot tub is in good shape and questions to ask pool operators under the pool user information section.