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Make a Splash!

Stay healthy under the sun and in the water this summer

As schools let out and summer approaches, it is important for us to remember to stay healthy and safe under the sun and in the water. Skin cancer is the most common kind of cancer in the United States, and melanoma is the most deadly kind of skin cancer. Just a few serious sunburns at any age can increase a person’s risk of skin cancer. We all share the water we swim in, and each of us needs to do our part to help keep ourselves, our families, and our friends healthy while swimming.

To help protect yourself and others from disease and germs, here are a few easy and effective steps to take this season:

  • SEEK shade- especially during midday hours (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.). Ultraviolet (UV) rays from sunlight are the greatest during the late spring and early summer in North America.
  • PROTECT your body- wear clothing that protects the skin such as a wide-brimmed hat to shade the face, head, ears, and neck; and wraparound sunglasses that block as close to 100 percent of ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays as possible (sunglasses safeguard the eyes from UVA and UVB rays, protect the tender skin around the eyes from sun exposure, and reduce the risk of cataracts).
  • APPLY sunscreen- sunscreen with sun protective factor (SPF) 15 or higher, and both UVA and UVB protection. Remember to reapply sunscreen at least every 2 hours and after swimming, sweating, and toweling off.
  • CHECK pools– before getting into the water, check the pool to see if it is at the proper chlorine level (1–3 mg/L or parts per million [ppm]) and pH (7.2–7.8) to maximize germ-killing power.
  • KEEP the poop and pee out of the water while swimming- don’t swim when ill with diarrhea; chlorine and other disinfectants don’t kill germs instantly; mixing of chlorine with pee and sweat uses up the germ-killing chlorine in the pool and creates those chemicals that sting your eyes and make you cough.
  • DON’T swallow the water you swim in.

Enjoy your time outdoors and in the water, and take steps to be healthy.

Graphics / Images

  • Adult applying sun screen on a child

    An adult applying sun screen on a child

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  • Skin layers: Epidermis, Dermis and Hypodermis

    Skin layers: Epidermis, Dermis and Hypodermis

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  • The Truth about Tanning

    "The Truth about Tanning" - infographic
    Click on the picture for the entire web graphic
    Mobile Website | Standard Quality PDF | High Qulaity PDF

  • Small children swimming in a pool

    Small children swimming in a pool

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  • Young Swimmers at a race

    Young Swimmers at a race

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  • Young people at the beach

    Young people at the beach

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  • Recreational Water and Illness Prevention Week 2013

    Recreational Water and Illness Prevention Week 2013

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  • Make a Healthy Spalsh - infographic

    "Make a Healthy Spalsh" - infographic
    Click on the picture for the entire web graphic

    This is a description for image 1

Contact Information

CDC Media Relations
(404) 639-3286
media@cdc.gov

Spokespersons

Marcus Plescia, MD

Biography

Marcus Plescia, MD

More public health efforts, including providing shade and sunscreen in recreational settings, are needed to raise awareness of the importance of sun protection and sunburn prevention to reduce the burden of skin cancer. We must accelerate our efforts to educate young adults about the dangers of indoor tanning to prevent melanoma.

Marcus Plescia, MD - Director, Division of Cancer Prevention and Control

Meg Watson, MPH

Biography

Meg Watson, MPH

Melanoma causes more deaths than any other skin cancer, more than 9,000 deaths each year, and it has been increasing in recent years, particularly among non-Hispanic whites. Indoor tanning before age 35 increases the risk of melanoma by 60 to 80 percent, so avoiding or reducing indoor tanning is a simple way to reduce risk of getting or dying from melanoma.

Meg Watson, MPH - Epidemiologist, Division of Cancer Prevention and Control

Dawn Holman, MPH

Biography

Dawn Holman, MPH

Key partners will need to work with each other and with new partners in various sectors, including media, education, and policy, to coordinate skin cancer prevention efforts at the national, state, and local levels. This approach has the potential to change sun safety attitudes and behaviors and prevent future cases of skin cancer, along with the associated illness, death, and health care costs.

Dawn Holman, MPH - Behavioral scientist, Division of Cancer Prevention and Control

Michele Hlavsa, RN, MPH

Biography

Michele Hlavsa, RN, MPH

Swimming is an excellent way to get the physical activity needed to stay healthy. However, pool users should be aware of how to prevent infections while swimming. Remember, chlorine and other disinfectants don’t kill germs instantly. That’s why it’s important for swimmers to protect themselves by not swallowing the water they swim in and to protect others by keeping feces and germs out of the pool by taking a pre-swim shower and not swimming when ill with diarrhea.

Michele Hlavsa, RN, MPH - Epidemiologist, Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Disease, NCEZID

Multimedia

Videos

Recreational Water Illness Police

In the Swim of Things

In the Swim of Things

Author: National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (NCEZID)
Date: 05/18/2009
In the Swim of Things

Podcasts

Skin Cancer
Healthy Swimming

Other

 
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