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Swimming and other water-related activities are excellent ways to get the physical activity and health benefits needed for a healthy life. Americans swim hundreds of millions of times in pools, oceans, lakes, rivers, and hot tubs/spas each year and most people have a safe and healthy time enjoying the water. However, it is important to be aware of ways to prevent recreational water illnesses (RWIs), sunburn, and drowning that can occur. CDC's Healthy Swimming Program and website, launched in 2001, provides information for the public, public health and medical professionals, and aquatics staff so everyone can maximize the health benefits of swimming while minimizing the risk of illness and injury.

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Recreational Water Illness (noun):

  • Illness caused by germs and chemicals found in the water we swim in

Healthy Swimming & Recreational Water Topics

Health Benefits

Chronic Illness, Mental Health, Older Adults…

Recreational Water Illnesses

Germs & Illnesses, Education & Prevention Materials, State Resources…

Pools & Hot Tubs

Design, Operation, Disinfection, Regulation…

Model Aquatic Health Code

About, The MAHC, Updating, Tools

Swimmer Protection

Tips for Healthy Swimming, Pool and Hot Tub User Information…

Other Recreational Water Issues

Drowning, Injuries, Boating, Sun Protection, Extreme Heat…

Oceans, Lakes, & Rivers

Beach Monitoring, Water Quality Indicators…

Natación Saludable

Información en Español…

Healthy Swimming Fast Facts


*1978-2010; Ordered from highest to lowest frequency (i.e., #1 is the most-commonly reported etiology). Only confirmed etiologies in source databases have been included the analyses. For outbreaks with multiple etiologies, each etiologic agent counted towards the total.

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CDC's Pool Chemical Safety page

CDC's Pool Chemical Safety page

Pledge to Pool Safely The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention   1600 Clifton Road Atlanta, GA 30329-4027, USA
800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) TTY: (888) 232-6348 - Contact CDC–INFO
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