For many families, swimming is a favorite summer pastime and is a great way to cool off on a hot summer day. From fatigue to hydration, it is important to take precautions to prevent injury or illness whenever you spend time in the water. Family Medicine physician, Dr. Winston Rajendram, MD, shares healthy swimming habits that will help keep you and your family safe while enjoying your time in the water this summer.
General Safety Tips
Know Your Limits
- Understand your swimming capability and endurance.
- Children and adults who are not strong swimmers should always wear a personal floatation device when in or around water.
- Fatigue can set in quickly, especially in children. Take breaks often and aim for a 10 – 15 minute rest every hour.
- When getting into the water, always enter feet first as hidden debris can cause severe head or spinal injury. You should never dive into murky, dark water or pools of unknown depths.
- Never leave children of any age unattended in or near water, especially during social gatherings. An adult should always be available to supervise young swimmers.
- Although swimming is refreshing, you are still engaging in physical activity. As with any exercise, it is important to stay hydrated. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids, even if you don’t feel thirsty.
Practice Good Hygiene
- Little swimmers are often having too much fun to notice when they need to use the restroom. Encouraging your child to take regular bathroom breaks keeps the water clean for all swimmers.
- Yeast and other bacteria thrive in damp, warm places. You can reduce your risk of developing vaginal yeast or bacterial infections by changing into dry clothes when you are finished swimming.
Eye Safety Tips
Swimming can make your eyes dry or irritated, causing redness or a burning sensation. You can prevent eye irritation while swimming by:
Drinking Plenty of Water
- Staying hydrated helps maintain moisture in your eyes.
Rinsing Your Eyes
- If your eyes become dry or irritated, splash cool, clean water on your face and flush out your eyes.
- Goggles are a great way to keep chemicals used in most pools, like chlorine, out of your eyes.
Removing Contact Lenses
- Wearing contact lenses while swimming can increase your risk of developing bacterial, fungal and parasitic eye infections.
Skin Safety Tips
The sun’s ultraviolet rays aren’t the only threat to your skin during the summer. You can keep your skin healthy and protected all summer long by following these tips:
Regularly Applying Sunscreen
- Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before heading outside and reapply every two hours and immediately after swimming. Be sure to apply under the edges of your swimsuit and the tops of the feet and ears.
Showering Before and After Swimming
- Rinsing off before you jump into the pool will remove dirt or other containments from your body. While chlorine is an effective way to kill many germs found in public pools, it can be harsh on your skin. Showering after a swim can help keep your skin from becoming dry or irritated.
Applying Lotion After a Day at the Pool
- Water draws moisture out of your skin, making it more dry than usual. Applying lotion after showering can help prevent dryness.
When you are spending time in the water this summer, practicing healthy swimming habits will keep you and your family safe. For more tips on summer safety and staying well, or to schedule an appointment with one of our primary care physicians, please visit DuPageMedicalGroup.com.