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How Can We Prevent Recreational Water Illnesses (RWIs)?

Steps for Healthy Swimming


Here are a few easy and effective healthy swimming steps all swimmers can take each time we swim to help protect ourselves, our families, and our friends from recreational water illnesses (RWIs):


Keep the pee, poop, sweat, and dirt out of the water!
  • Stay out of the water if you have diarrhea.
  • Shower before you get in the water.
  • Don’t pee or poop in the water.
  • Don’t swallow the water.

Every hour—everyone out!
  • Take kids on bathroom breaks.
  • Check diapers, and change them in a bathroom or diaper-changing area–not poolside–to keep germs away from the pool.
  • Reapply sunscreen.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.

Check the free chlorine level and pH before getting into the water.
  • Pools: Proper free chlorine level (1–3 mg/L or parts per million [ppm]) and pH (7.2–7.8) maximize germ-killing power.
  • Hot tubs/spas: Proper disinfectant level (chlorine [2–4 parts per million or ppm] or bromine [4–6 ppm] and pH [7.2–7.8]) maximize germ-killing power.
  • Most superstores, hardware stores, and pool-supply stores sell pool test strips.

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