Healthy and Safe Swimming Week: Make a healthy splash!
Agencies remind Marylanders to also pack precaution on trips to pool, beach
Baltimore, MD (May 21, 2015) – With summer’s start within view, the Secretaries of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH), Environment (MDE), and Natural Resources (DNR) are reminding Marylanders to be safe when swimming because of the risks that water-related activities can bring.
National Healthy and Safe Swimming Week runs through May 24, 2015. This year, the Departments are making extra efforts to ensure that Marylanders can enjoy beach and pool activities safely.
“We want everyone to enjoy Maryland’s beaches and waters this summer,” said DHMH Secretary Van Mitchell, “And our agencies are working together to help everyone have a safe and enjoyable experience.”
MDE Secretary Ben Grumbles pointed to the Healthy Beaches website, www.marylandhealthy
beaches.org, as an example of State resources prepared to help Marylanders take precautions against disease, injury and illness when swimming.
“From Memorial Day to Labor Day, the Healthy Beaches website delivers updated information on conditions at the nearly 200 monitored beaches in Maryland, and it provides the dos and don’ts for swimmers to stay healthy and keep our waters clean,” said Secretary Grumbles.
“Governor Larry Hogan and the Natural Resources Police's new water safety mascot, Splash, recently came on board to encourage water safety,” added DNR Secretary Mark Belton. “We urge everyone planning water related activities – including swimmers, anglers, boaters and paddlers – to follow the healthy beaches precautions, only swim in guarded areas, and wear a life vest.”
Citizens and visitors can also access real-time Chesapeake Bay water quality data at Eyes on the Bay.
Marylanders are reminded that there are simple steps they can take to help prevent the most common and serious health and safety risks associated with recreational water – drownings and injuries, sunburns, and potential infections:
To prevent illness
· Don’t swim with an open sore or wound.
· Don’t swim if you have diarrhea. You can spread germs in the water and make others sick.
· Don’t swallow pool or beach water. Avoid getting water in your mouth.
· Wash hands after changing diapers, using the restroom, and before eating or handling food.
· Shower with soap before and after swimming in a pool.
· Change diapers in a bathroom or a diaper-changing area and not poolside.
· At the beach, take diapers to trash cans or store in a secure bag to be thrown out at home.
· Take your children to the bathroom every 30-60 minutes. Waiting to hear 'I have to go' may mean that it’s too late.
· Stay out of the water if it has a strange color.
· Avoid swimming in natural waters within 48 hours of a heavy-rain event.
· Know before you go ─ check the Maryland Healthy Beaches website for the advisory status of swimming beaches.
· Use sunscreen frequently throughout the day – every day – to help avoid skin cancer and burns.
· Stay hydrated and in the shade to help avoid such illnesses as sunstroke.
To prevent injury
· Be especially mindful of small children, and always use safety devices to help keep them safe.
· Swim only where there is a trained lifeguard on duty.
· Always wear a lifejacket and have a flotation rescue device handy when out on the water.
· Never swim alone or while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
· Check weather and tides before heading out.
· Carry a cell phone or have other ways to contact emergency personnel in case a situation arises.