North Texas Daily

Stay afloat this summer with water safety reminders

Stay afloat this summer with water safety reminders

May 29
19:46 2014

Samantha McDonald / Staff Writer

As temperatures heat up during the summer season, it’s no surprise that people head to their favorite water spots to cool down. But along with the summer fun comes dangers that many tend to overlook.

Among these dangers are water-borne illnesses. In observation of the 10th anniversary of Recreational Water Illness and Injury Prevention Week from May 19 to 25, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released tips that can help prevent the spread of diseases caused by contaminated water common in summer swimming areas, beginning with safety awareness.

“There’s a natural hazard every time you’re around water,” said Caroline Seward, aquatic business and guest services supervisor at the Denton Natatorium. “A fun day at the pool can turn bad quickly if people don’t take the right precautions.”

Before admitting swimmers, Seward insists that all pools at the natatorium be treated with the proper chemicals to minimize the risks of contracting water-borne illnesses. She also encourages people to avoid swimming in a publicly shared pool when they are sick or not feeling well.

“Safety is our number one priority,” she said. “We want everyone to have a fun yet safe time at the pool, but it only takes one person being sick in the water to spread a disease.”

Another threat to water safety is injury. While most swimmers have heard of the typical preventative measures – never swim alone, always swim in areas supervised by lifeguards, do not dive into shallow or unknown waters – Jaime Jones, assistant director of aquatics at the UNT Pohl Recreation Center, urges students to remember the five dangerous too’s: too tired, too cold, too far from safety, too much sun and too much strenuous activity.

“Unlike the usual don’ts, this is a little more appropriate to college students,” Jones said. “You may overestimate your abilities or your comfort level, so any precaution a person can take before getting into the water can help tremendously.”

Jossette McCurrin, a UNT lifeguard and biology junior, adds that although there are poolside markers that show regulations for keeping safe at the pool, most people simply walk past them. This puts individuals at risk when they swim without understanding that each pool is different from the other.

“If you follow the basic rules, then there’s no problem,” she said. “They’re there for a reason.”

Water safety tips

  • Shower with soap before you start swimming.
  • Take bathroom breaks every 60 minutes.
  • Don’t swim when you have diarrhea.
  • Don’t swallow the water you swim in.
  • Never swim alone or in unsupervised locations.
  • Never drink alcohol before or while swimming, boating or water skiing.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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