PIERRE — South Dakotans who head to the beach and the pool this summer should take common sense precautions to prevent water-borne illnesses such as cryptosporidiosis, says a state health official.
“Water sports are great physical activities and we don’t want to discourage them but we do want people to practice healthy swimming,” said Bill Chalcraft, health protection administrator for the Department of Health.
In 2012, South Dakota reported 113 cases of the diarrheal illness caused by Cryptosporidium parasites. Through May of this year, 37 cases have been reported.
Chalcraft said beaches, pools, hot tubs and waterparks can be contaminated by runoff, the presence of chlorine resistant germs, or poor maintenance. Contamination can also result when individuals with diarrhea use recreational waters. People at high risk for recreational water illnesses include the young, the elderly, pregnant women, and the immunosuppressed.
Chalcraft offered the following prevention tips for all swimmers:
· Shower with soap before swimming and wash your hands after using the toilet or changing diapers. Wash your children thoroughly with soap before swimming.
· Don’t swim when you have diarrhea.
· Don’t swallow pool water.
· Take young children on bathroom breaks and check diapers at least every hour.
· Change diapers in a bathroom or a diaper-changing area and not poolside.
· Use sunscreen with at least SPF 15 and UVA and UVB protection, reapplying after swimming.
· Change out of wet swimwear and shower thoroughly after swimming.
Parents should keep an eye on children at all times when near the water and avoid using water wings and other swimming aids in place of life jackets.
Learn more about healthy swimming at the Website www.cdc.gov/healthyswimming.
For the complete article see the 07-05-2013 issue.
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