After the excessive heat wave in the Lehigh Valley, I overheard some of my neighbors talking about taking their kids to a local water park.
Shortly after hearing that conversation, I received an alert from wedmd.com about an article titled “July Is Peak Time for Illness from Feces in Pools.”
The article, dated June 28 and written by E.J. Mundell, talked about the safety of recreational swimming in summer.
Summer is a time when many Americans spend their days swimming at water parks, community and family pools, lakes and ponds.
According to Mundell’s article, swimming in water this summer may not be safe if germs such as E. coli or cryptosporidium are in the water.
“These germs make people sick when they swallow water contaminated with poop,” the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention stated in the article.
“The statement accompanied a news report on 140 outbreaks of ‘untreated recreational water’ that sickened nearly 5,000 people and killed two between 2000 and 2014 in the United States,” Mundell’s article stated.
This article reminded me of a scene from the 2012 movie “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days,” in which the main character, Greg Heffley, encounters a young boy at a community pool.
Heffley asks the boy what is so funny, and he says, “I’m peeing.” Then Heffley turns around and sees a diaper floating in the water and a little girl smiling.
How do we keep ourselves and our loved ones safe while swimming at water parks, swimming pools, lakes and ponds this summer?
In an article titled “Healthy and Safe Swimming,” the CDC offers the following tips to staying healthy while swimming this summer.
• Don’t swim or let children swim when they have diarrhea.
• Don’t swallow the water.
• Check children’s diapers, and change them in a bathroom or diaper-changing area — not poolside to keep the germs away from the pool.
• Shower before you get in the water. Rinsing off in the shower for just one minute helps get rid of any germs that might be on your body.
Germs are not the only dangers lurking around water parks, swimming pools, lakes and ponds. Drowning can also occur.
According to the same CDC feature, drowning is the leading cause of unintentional injury death among children ages 1 to 14.
“In fact, drowning kills more young children 1 to 4 years old than anything else except birth defects,” the CDC states.
Growing up swimming in local ponds, community swimming pools and my family’s own swimming pool in Florida, I know the danger of drowning.
I offer several ways parents can protect their children from drowning.
• Never leave a child unattended near standing water, swimming pools, water parks, lakes or ponds.
• Have a pool cover installed over the family swimming pool, if it is an in-ground pool.
• Whether the family pool is an in- or above-ground, installing a fence with a gate and lock is another way to protect loved ones from drowning.
Water parks, swimming pools, lakes and ponds may be great places to stay cool during excessive heat waves or to have fun with friends and family, but they can bring unforeseeable dangers. Learn the ways to protect your loved ones from potential harm.