Avoiding Norovirus at the Lake
Water Quality and Health Council

Norovirus, the notorious “stomach bug,” can spread like wildfire  through homes, schools, healthcare facilities and cruise ships.  According to a recent report by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the virus also can be spread among swimmers in natural water bodies. In July, 2014, 70 people became ill with norovirus after swimming in Oregon’s Blue Lake, on the outskirts of Portland.  More than half of these were children between four and ten years old.  A CDC investigation found those who swam in the lake over the course of one weekend were more than twice as likely to develop vomiting or diarrhea as those who visited the lake but did not go in the water.  The outbreak was the subject of public communication during CDC’s 2015 Healthy and Safe Swimming Week1.

Anatomy of an Aqueous Outbreak

Last summer’s norovirus outbreak in Oregon probably started after a … READ MORE >>


Swimming Pools Myths Busted over the Airwaves
Chris Wiant, MPH, PhD, and Ralph Morris, MD, MPH

We recently completed our annual Healthy Pools “radio media tour” of 23 radio stations across the US, during which we dispelled common swimming pool myths and promoted tips on staying healthy in the pool this summer.  Here are some highlights from the tour:

MythThere is a dye that is used to identify swimmers who pee covertly in the pool.

There is no dye in pool water to indicate the presence of pee (pockets of warm “water” may be an immediate, but fleeting give-away).  Rather, swimmers are on the “honor system” when it comes to getting out of the pool to use the bathroom.  We highly recommend doing this (see below).

Myth:  Swimmer’s eyes turn red when there is too much chlorine in the pool.

Too much chlorine in the pool would be irritating to the eyes, but chlorine itself is not the common cause of swimmer “red … READ MORE >>


Saluting Our Fallen Heroes with Swimming Lessons for Children
Water Quality and Health Council

Jerod M. Leob 

Swimming is a skill that can provide endless enjoyment, help keep you fit, and even save your life.  As a group of public health and safety professionals, we have been strong proponents of healthy swimming for nearly 25 years.  We believe all children should learn to swim, and that is why we are so impressed with the Angels of America’s Fallen project (AoAF), brought to our attention by the National Swimming Pool Foundation.

The non-profit AoAF project helps provide “wish list” activities, like swimming lessons, to the children of fallen soldiers and first responders.  The project recognizes and strives to fill the gap in the lives of children of fallen heroes.  We are especially proud that a donation will be made to AoAF by the American Chemistry Council’s Chlorine Chemistry Division in our honor as a tribute to one of our own fallen, Jerod M. Loeb, READ MORE >>


Enjoying Reptiles and Amphibians while Avoiding Salmonella
Fred M. Reiff, P.E.

Children love to explore the great outdoors.  Spotting turtles, frogs, lizards and snakes in the wild is fun and can help build an appreciation of the wonders of wildlife.  To help keep the experience healthy, parents and guardians should be aware that reptiles and amphibians can harbor Salmonella bacteria that are easily transmitted to people handling them.  That includes wild as well as pet store varieties of these animals.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Salmonella outbreaks from contact with reptiles and amphibians have caused hundreds of people to become ill in recent years; many of these outbreaks are linked to small turtles. Children under five years old are the most commonly affected, which is why CDC recommends parents prevent their young children from contacting reptiles and amphibians. CDC notes, in fact, that since 1975 the Food and Drug Administration has banned the sale and … READ MORE >>


Safe Fun in the Kiddie Pool
Barbara M. Soule, R.N. MPA, CIC, FSHEA

Kiddie pools can bring hours of delight to young children on a hot summer day. But unlike larger pools, small plastic and inflatable kiddie pools are normally not equipped with water filters or treated with chemicals that remove germs and balance pH. Add to this the fact that hygiene is not a strong suit of the kiddie pool set, and a few helpful tips are in order for safe fun in the kiddie pool:

  • Fill the pool with fresh water before each use: Without the benefit of chemical treatment, kiddie pools must be refilled with fresh tap water before each use. When my children were small, I would fill the pool with water early in the morning and let it warm up for a few hours before letting the children go in. Naturally, adult supervision is needed around the water-filled pool.
  • Bathe children before they enter the pool: This may sound counterintuitive, but without bathing children first, the risk of their contaminating the pool with pathogens rises. Without getting too graphic, the diaper and underpants area are the source of most of the pathogens that can make kids sick. Change diapers as needed, and keep in mind that swim diapers or swim pants are not leak-proof. If your little swimmer is potty trained, build in some bathroom breaks to avoid “accidents.”



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