Department of Health

Summer reminder on healthy swimming pool habits (Archived content)

Published by Department of Health & Human Services

Now that summer has arrived, Victorians are reminded to practice good personal hygiene when swimming to prevent cases of gastroenteritis.

Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Dr Rosemary Lester today launched the Department of Health’s new Healthy Swimming Initiative during the Aquatic and Recreation Victoria Water Safety Week Fun Day at Federation Square.

“The Department has developed a new awareness campaign with simple advice on how to keep our pools clean. This advice is a timely reminder following a rise in gastroenteritis cases earlier this year” Dr Lester said.

“Today we are distributing a collection of new 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 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 will see information packs provided to all Victorian aquatic facilities.

“Swimming is a great activity for improving general health and wellbeing,” Dr Lester said.

“But 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 ChannelExternal Link .

Reviewed 06 December 2013


Contact details

Bram Alexander Department of Health Media Unit

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