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    Public Pools and Spas – Injury and Illness Prevention

    Every year, state and local health departments across the country investigate increasing numbers of Recreational Water Illness (RWI) outbreaks. This upsurge is driven by an increase in the number of cases caused by Cryptosporidium (“Crypto”), a chlorine-resistant intestinal parasite that is primarily associated with treated recreational water venues such as pools and water parks. Learning about recreational water illnesses, including cryptosporidiosis, and following healthy swimming behaviors may help to prevent them.

    • Do not swim when you have diarrhea.
    • Do not swallow pool water or get pool water in your mouth.
    • Shower before swimming (children too!).
    • Wash your hands after using the toilet or changing diapers.
    • Take children on bathroom breaks or change diapers often.
    • Change children’s diapers in a bathroom, not at poolside.

    To promote healthy swimming, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) encourages pool operators and staff to take important steps for appropriate pool and spa operation. Chemicals and equipment used to maintain swimming pools & spas and reduce the risk of waterborne illness can cause injuries if they are not properly handled. Pool chemical injuries lead to thousands of emergency room visits each year. Public pool operators and residential pool owners can protect themselves and swimmers by taking these key steps:

    • ALWAYS secure pool chemicals: Keep children and animals away.
    • ALWAYS read product name and manufacturer’s directions before each use.
    • ALWAYS use appropriate protective gear, such as safety glasses and gloves, when handling pool chemicals.
    • NEVER mix chlorine products with each other, acid, or other substances.

    Access a complete set of CDC prevention recommendations