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Memorial Day Safety: How To Avoid The Invisible Danger Lurking In Water

Don't drink the water! Drink now, pay later...

For many families with children, Memorial Day is the first time in the year they hit the water. But that day of fun in the sun could to a night of gut-wrenching agony if you aren’t careful.

From lakes, rivers and streams to fountains that kids play in and your local swimming pool, waterborne illnesses like Cryptosporidiosis, E.coli and Giardia are everywhere.  These illnesses and can give you or your children one of the worst experiences of diarrhea and vomiting you will ever suffer through.  And it’s not just that.  You can get a fever, a migraine and eye and skin infections.  Your youngest children and the very old are most at risk.

It ain’t pretty, kids.

Waterborne illnesses or outbreaks may result from drinking, breathing or touching water contaminated with fecal material.  Whether someone had diarrhea and didn’t fully clean themselves before getting in a lake or pool, or a toddler swimming around with a poopy diaper, fecal matter is all over the place.  But there are a few super easy things you can do that will drastically reduce your family’s chances of getting sick from a swim at the local pool or a nearby lake this Memorial Day holiday:

Don’t drink the water!  The most common way the bacteria is spread is through the mouth.  You see kids swallowing and spitting water at each other all the time.  Don’t let them do it.  Just because pools are treated with chlorine doesn’t mean they’re safe.  In fact, as Sandy Maple reported last year, one out of every eight public pools inspected in thirteen states had to be closed due to proper disinfectant procedures.  That’s a lot of pools.

Always use a swim diaper for your toddler and take them out of the pool or lake often for bathroom breaks.

Thoroughly wash yourself – or at least your hands – with soap after swimming.  Waterborne illnesses can be spread from hand to mouth.

Avoid large crowds of swimmers. The more swimmers, the higher the risk of contracting an illness because it is more likely that someone is sick and contaminating the water.  This one can be tough over the holiday, but do what you can.

Don’t change your child’s diaper near the pool.  If one is available, go to the restroom to do so.  And always wash your hands afterward.

Image: flickr.com/TasayuTasnaphun

More easy ways to stay safe: 10 Pool Safety Tips for Kids!

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