Summer in Arkansas means lots of time spent swimming! Not only is swimming a lot of fun, it’s also a great way to be active. You may have a favorite swimming spot on Beaver Lake or a secret swimming hole on one of the many rivers in the area. Maybe rivers and lakes aren’t your thing and you prefer swimming in pools. Wherever you choose to splash around, healthy and safe swimming is important. Here are six tips to ensure that your time in the water is safe as well as fun.
Look for a lifeguard
Check to see if there is a lifeguard on duty before swimming. Of course, many swimming areas – lakes, rivers, streams, private pools – won’t have a lifeguard present.
It’s important to be extra cautious and mindful of swimming safety when lifeguards are not present.
Inspect swimming areas
Check swimming areas before entering. How deep is the water? Are there hazards in or around the water? Is there a current?
This is especially important in natural bodies of water, but it’s a good idea to check pools as well. Ensure that drain covers are in good condition, look for safety or rescue equipment, and look for any potential hazards in or around the pool.
Keep the water clean
You can help ensure a healthy and safe swimming experience for everyone. If possible, shower before entering a pool or swimming area.
Keep blood, sweat, dirt, urine, and fecal matter out of swimming areas to help keep yourself and those around you safe from RWIs.
Recreational water illnesses (RWIs) are caused by exposure to contaminated water. These illnesses can occur from breathing in, swallowing, or being around contaminated water.
Diarrhea is the most commonly reported RWI. Parasites like giardia and cryptosporidum can cause diarrhea. Water may be contaminated by bacteria, protozoa, or chemicals. Water in pools, natural bodies of water, hot tubs, water parks, etc. can all be contaminated.
Talk to your doctor if you notice symptoms during or after swimming, and call 911 for medical emergencies.
Sun safety and swimming safety go hand in hand
Healthy and safe swimming isn’t all about the water. Ultraviolet radiation can damage your skin’s appearance as well as your skin cells. Always wear a full spectrum sunscreen and reapply often.
You should never go swimming by yourself. This is true even for experienced swimmers. Always pay attention, and make sure that you keep a close eye on young children who are in or around water.