Department of Health

Safe summer swimming stops sickness

05/12/14
Published by Department of Health & Human Services

Victorian swimmers should ensure their good personal hygiene to prevent gastroenteritis this summer.

The Department of Health today took part in the Aquatic and Recreation Victoria Water Safety Week Fun Day at Federation Square, promoting its successful Healthy Swimming Initiative.

Our healthy swimming awareness campaign provides simple advice on how to keep our pools clean,” Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Dr Rosemary Lester said today.

Water Safety Week is a timely reminder for us all to think about good personal hygiene and take steps to prevent cases of gastroenteritis. 

Today we are distributing brochures and stickers providing important tips on how we can all help to keep our swimming pools clean this summer.”

Dr Lester said germs like Cryptosporidium (Crypto) are very hardy and can hang around in pool water even when there is chlorine. 

The cryptosporidium parasite is found in the faeces of humans, cattle and other animals. Swallowing even a few Crypto germs in contaminated water can cause illness,” Dr Lester said.

The symptoms are generally mild but can cause more serious problems for people whose immune system is already weakened by disease, as well as the elderly and young children.” 

Dr Lester said the ‘healthy swimming’ campaign was developed with Life Saving Victoria and Aquatics and Recreation Victoria and information packs have been provided to all Victorian aquatic facilities.

Pre-swim showers were more common before the drought and water restrictions and we are once again encouraging Victorians to shower before swimming,” Dr Lester said. 

Whether you are swimming in your local aquatic centre, a friend’s swimming pool, a spa or in the ocean – we need to remember the importance of staying safe and healthy. 

In addition to taking sun protection measures to prevent sunburn, we all need to practice healthy swimming behaviours to help protect water quality. 
Everyone can play a part in helping to keep the water we swim in clean and free from germs that can cause illnesses such as gastroenteritis.

With simple hygiene measures and healthy swimming behaviour, contamination and closures of swimming pools in our aquatic facilities can be prevented.”

Tips for staying healthy when swimming include:

  • Do not swim if you have diarrhoea;
  • Shower and wash with soap before swimming;
  • Wash your hands with soap after going to the toilet or changing a nappy;
  • Change nappies in nappy change areas only; and,
  • Avoid swallowing pool water.

Find out more online at the Better Health Channel.

Reviewed 05 December 2014

Health.vic

Contact details

Bram Alexander Department of Health Media Unit

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