OSDH Shares Health and Safety Tips for Swimming Ahead of Memorial Day Weekend

Thursday, 23 May 2024 07:17

OSDH Shares Health and Safety Tips for Swimming Ahead of Memorial Day Weekend Featured

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OKLAHOMA CITY - Drowning is the leading cause of death among children ages 1 - 4 years in Oklahoma, according to OSDH vital record data, with most occurring from May to August.

Drowning is silent and can take place in less than two inches of water, which is why, most often, people aren’t aware someone is drowning until it is too late. Below are some tips for remaining water aware and how to prevent drownings.

  • Always provide close, constant and undistracted supervision when children are in or near water.
    • Adults should be within arm's reach of young children and actively watch them without distractions such as phones or reading materials.
  • Ensure children and adults learn to swim and understand basic water safety, such as floating, treading water, and safe water entry and exit.
  • Install four-sided isolation fencing with self-closing and self-latching gates around pools to help prevent children from getting in a backyard pool unsupervised.
    • Fences should follow the Rule of 4: all 4 sides of the pool, at least 4 feet high, with gaps smaller than 4 inches.
  • Know how to recognize and respond to a swimmer in distress and maintain certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to provide immediate assistance in emergencies.
  • Teach children basic swimming and water safety skills to reduce the risk of drowning.
    • Children who have had swimming lessons still need close and constant supervision when in or around water.

Water can also be associated with swimming-related illnesses. It is important to follow these recommendations to stay healthy while enjoying water activities.

  • Shower before entering a pool to keep chlorine levels up to kill germs in the water.
  • Do not enter pools, hot tubs, or splash pads if you currently or have recently had diarrhea.
  • Take a break every hour to use the bathroom and check diapers if you are swimming with kids.
  • Don’t swallow the water.
  • Before visiting lakes, oceans, or other bodies of water, check for and follow swimming, fishing, and shellfish advisories.
  • If the water looks or smells bad, stay out and keep kids, pets and livestock away.
    • If you think you see an algal bloom at a public lake or any other public recreational area, notify the lake manager immediately.

For more information on healthy and safe swimming, visit Healthy and Safe Swimming Week Campaign | Healthy Swimming | CDC.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) protects and improves public health through its system of local health services and strategies focused on preventing disease. OSDH provides technical support and guidance to 68 county health departments in Oklahoma, as well as guidance and consultation to the two independent city-county health departments in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Learn more at Oklahoma.gov/health.

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