Keep Germs at Bay this Swim Season

Post Date:05/25/2017 11:03 AM

The upcoming Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of summer and the opening of many family pools, as well as some community pools.   The Somerset County Department of Health urges residents to learn the facts about pool safety.

Swimming is a great way to enjoy family and friends and provides a fun way to be physically active. Just two-and-a-half hours of water-based activity a week provides health benefits for everyone. However, swimming, like other activities, is not risk-free. While sunburn and injuries might be the most well-known health risks associated with swimming, germs can be lurking in the water, including germs that cause diarrheal illness, which is on the rise.

Many people mistakenly think chlorine kills germs instantly!  The truth is that some germs can survive days in properly chlorinated pools. A diarrhea-causing germ called Cryptosporidium or Crypto can survive for more than a week. Crypto has become the leading cause of disease outbreaks linked to swimming.  

That’s why it is so important to stay out of the water if you have diarrhea. A fellow swimmer swallowing a mouthful of contaminated water can suffer a bout of diarrhea that could last two or three weeks.

The good news is that by following a few steps you can protect yourself and others this summer and year-round.

 • Keep children with diarrhea out of the pool; swim diapers do not prevent diarrhea germs from leaking into the water

• Don’t pee or poop in the water.

• Don’t swallow pool water.

• Do your part! Report it if your child has an accident while in the pool.

• Take kids on regular bathroom breaks.

• Check diapers and change your child in a bathroom or diaper-changing area to keep germs away from the pool. 

Washing hands after using the bathroom is always a good idea but during swim season it is essential to keep Crypto from getting into the pool.  Encourage children to suds up and scrub to prevent the spread of illness.  If a community pool has a “shower-before-swimming” policy, be sure to take advantage of this additional safety step. Without good hygiene practices, even the best-maintained pools can spread illness.

For more information about pool safety, go to http://bit.ly/Tips-Pools.

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Namitha Reddy, MD, MPH, Director and Health Officer

Phone: 908-231-7155
 After Hours: For emergencies, dial 9-1-1
 Fax: 908-704-8042 
 Mail: 27 Warren Street, P.O. Box 3000 Somerville, NJ 08876
 Email: HealthDept@co.somerset.nj.us
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What We Do:

The Somerset County Department of Health is dedicated to fostering healthy lifestyles and a safe environment through effective leadership in public health, comprehensive planning, development of proactive community partnerships and a continued commitment to public health service.  Additionally, SCDOH is the lead agency responsible for countywide Public Health emergency planning and response activities.  

SCDOH provides essential public health services to our contract communities including: 

  • Public Health Administration
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  • Communicable Disease Control and Prevention
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SCDOH also provides and supports  essential services throughout the County and the region, including:

  • Public Health Emergency Preparedness
  • Environmental Health
  • Regional Chronic Disease Coalition
  • TB Control

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The Somerset County Department of Health serves as the Health Department to our contracted communities: 

If you live in any other township, please contact your local health department.