Friday, August 13, 2010

Don’t let disease cramp your summertime fun

Whether you’re camping, staying hydrated or going for a swim, water is a huge part of summer fun. However, the water that we swim in and drink can sometimes contain disease-causing bacteria or viruses (which can seriously cut into that summertime fun).

To keep yourself from getting sick from contaminated water, follow these tips from APHA’s Get Ready campaign:

• Before you go to the beach, check out the Environmental Protection Agency’s online Beach Advisory and Closing Online Notification system to see if there are any warnings of water contamination or closings at beaches near you. If possible, avoid swimming the day after a heavy rainstorm, when contamination is often highest. That way you can avoid taking a dip in run-off that’s spread into the water from streets or overflowing drains.

• Headed to the pool? Believe it or not, germs can spread even in chlorinated water. To prevent the spread of bacteria and lessen your chance of getting sick, practice healthy swimming behavior. That means no swallowing the pool water. Shower with soap before and after swimming, and wash your hands after using the toilet or changing diapers. Also, please be kind to your fellow pool-goers: No swimming when you have diarrhea.

• If you’re traveling in an area where tap water is not chlorinated or sanitation is poor, be sure to have lots of bottled water on hand. Also, there are several methods for ensuring water is safe to drink, including boiling, disinfecting or filtering the water. Remember: If the tap water is not safe to drink in the area you are visiting, don’t use it to reconstitute juice or to rinse fresh fruits and vegetables. Also, avoid ice made from tap water, otherwise you may end up regretting it later.

Following these steps will help keep you and others healthy as you beat the heat with water this summer. Splash away!

Photo credit: Courtesy iStockphoto

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