MIAMI COUNTY — With summer in full swing, healthy and safe swimming behaviors along with quick access to safety equipment are encouraged to keep swimming safe and fun for everyone.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)’s Pool Safely campaign encourages parents and caregivers to make sure children know how to behave at the pool as well as to watch their children while they are there. Their pool safety tips include making sure that children are never unattended near water, children know how to swim, and children know to stay away from drains. Even if there are lifeguards at the pool, parents and caregivers should still have a designated person watching the children while swimming as the lifeguards may not be able to see them at all times.
The Pool Safely campaign also checks public pools to ensure they have proper fences, barriers, alarms, and covers as well as compliant drain covers. Proper drain covers are encouraged as children’s bodies or clothes could get caught in the drains, getting kids stuck in the water.
When Miami County Public Health inspects local pools, they look to make sure that safety resources are available, such as shepherd hooks and buoys.
“There’s also safety features they’re required to have, like a telephone,” Director of Environmental Health Jane Tomcisin of Miami County Public Health said. “All your safety equipment should be intact and available.”
Pools without lifeguards should have proper signage letting people know they are swimming at their own risk, and pools with lifeguards should make sure their lifeguards are properly certified.
Miami County Public Health also looks to make sure diving boards are safe, are not cracked and do not have rust.
“There are a lot of things we check for,” Tomcisin said.
Avoid swimming if sick
Miami County Public Health also checks for the flow of public pools to make sure the water is being properly filtered. They recommend that pool owners and operators make sure their pool chemicals are in the proper ranges to make sure they are working properly.
Pools can also be a place where germs from swimmers can contaminate the water, so swimmers should self-regulate on whether or not they are healthy enough to be swimming in a public or shared pool.
“If you have diarrhea, you shouldn’t be swimming,” Tomcisin said. Illness can be spread to others if the recreational water gets contaminated and lead to a variety of other illnesses in other swimmers, such as skin, ear, eye, and upper respiratory infections. Some germs may take days to be killed by chlorine, increasing the risk of spreading illness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Anybody that’s not feeling well should not be going into a public pool,” Tomcisin said.
Sun safety tips
For those who sunbathe this summer, Dr. Llana Pootrakul, a board-certified dermatologist at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, recommends the following sunblock tips to protect people from UV damage:
• Know your options: There are two different types of sunscreen, chemical blockers and physical blockers. Dr. Pootrakul says chemical blockers wear off quicker than physical blockers, plus people are more likely to be allergic to chemical blockers. She recommends using physical blockers, which are often cheaper.
• Buy higher SPF than you think you need: Dr. Pootrakul recommends buying higher SPF 50 sunscreen because of the way SPF ratings are assigned. In the lab when SPF ratings are determined, subjects are slathered with sunscreen. In reality, people don’t apply as much sunscreen as they should. By the time people are done applying, their SPF 50 is actually about as strong as an SPF 30 sunscreen.
• If you’re going to use spray sunscreen, rub it in: In the lab when scientists are testing sunscreens, they’re spraying extensively before testing for sun protection. In reality, most folks spray a light mist and think they’re good. Spray more, and rub it in.
• Apply more than once: Reapply sunscreen every two hours.
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