Healthy and Safe Swimming Communications Toolkit
The information and materials below are meant to help public health professionals promote healthy and safe swimming messages on social media, websites, and other communication channels during Healthy and Safe Swimming Week (HSSW) and throughout the year. These resources are designed to raise awareness about the steps everyone can take to protect themselves and those they care about from injury and illness when swimming.
- Update or create web content related to swimming and diarrhea on your agency’s website and share promotion materials.
- Consider having CDC’s healthy swimming syndicated content on your website without having to maintain it. When CDC updates the syndicated content, your website will be updated as well. Your site’s colors, fonts, navigation, and other unique properties will be unaffected.
- Use social media posts to spread the word about healthy swimming.
- Disseminate healthy swimming messages and materials (for example, in e-mail announcements).
- Share CDC’s most up-to-date COVID-19 guidance for public pools, hot tubs, and water playgrounds and for public beaches.
- Provide a press release to media outlets (see Press Release Template).
- Share information on steps swimmers and caregivers can take to prevent swimming-related illnesses, drowning, and pool chemical injuries.
Operators of Treated Aquatic Venues (Pools, Hot Tubs, and Water Playgrounds)
- Tell operators where they can find information on if their venue can be open to the public and, if so, how to open it safely.
- Share guidance on
- reopening public hot tubs after an extended closure (see step 5) to help prevent outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease, and
- operating public pools, hot tubs, and water playgrounds during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Beach Managers and Operators of Untreated Aquatic Venues
- Tell beach managers where they can find information on if their venue can be open to the public and, if so, how to open it safely.
- Share guidance on operating public beaches during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Tell beach managers to:
- Check out EPA’s online technical resourcesexternal icon.
- Sign up for the BeachNet listserv to communicate and network with other beach managers across the country: https://www.glc.org/email-groupsexternal icon.
- Establish policies that allow employees to perform alternate duties that do not require entering the water if they have diarrhea or an open cut or wound that cannot be completely covered by a waterproof bandage.
Pool Supply Stores
- Recommend that stores display healthy and safe swimming promotion materials, particularly those focused on pool chemical safety, in their stores and on their websites.
- Encourage providers to share healthy and safe swimming promotion materials with their patients.
- Engage your local chapter of the American Academy of Pediatricsexternal icon or other organizations for healthcare professionals.
- Create fact sheets for community leaders (such as program administrators, boards of health, and elected officials) detailing specifics about your agency’s HSSW efforts.
- Follow CDC’s Steps for Healthy Swimming to protect yourself and those you care about from illness at the pool and at the beach this summer. https://go.usa.gov/xQRNZexternal icon
- Pee in the toilet, not in the pool! When pee and chlorine mix in the pool, there is less chlorine available to kill germs. https://go.usa.gov/xH8Wkexternal icon
- #DYK that chlorine doesn’t kill germs in pools right away? While it kills most germs in minutes, some germs can live in a properly chlorinated pool for days! Protect yourself. Don’t swallow water you swim or play in. #healthyswimming https://go.usa.gov/xsymtexternal icon
- Sweat and dirt on your body can use up chlorine needed to kill germs in the pool. Showering before you get in the pool keeps chlorine levels up to keep you and those you care about healthy! #healthyswimming https://go.usa.gov/xQRNZexternal icon
- Going for a swim with kids? Take a break every hour to use the bathroom or check diapers. Change diapers away from the water to keep germs from getting in. #healthyswimming https://go.usa.gov/xQRNZexternal icon
- Diarrhea and swimming don’t mix! Follow CDC’s Steps for Healthy Swimming to help protect yourself and those you care about from illness at the pool. #healthyswimming https://go.usa.gov/xQRNZexternal icon
- Did you know swallowing even a small amount of water contaminated with diarrhea germs can make you sick for up to 3 weeks? Practice healthy swimming by not swallowing the water you swim in! #healthyswimming https://go.usa.gov/xsymtexternal icon
- Don’t swim or let your kids swim if sick with diarrhea. One person with diarrhea can contaminate the entire pool. Learn more ways to keep you and those you care about healthy. #healthyswimming https://go.usa.gov/xsymtexternal icon
Healthy and Safe Swimming Week Graphics
- Watch kids closely when they are in or around the pool. Drowning happens quickly and quietly, so avoid distracting activities like being on a smartphone. https://go.usa.gov/xv9s2external icon
- Drowning is a leading cause of injury-related death in children less than 15 years old. Learn what you can do to protect children from drowning. https://go.usa.gov/xv9s2external icon
- Prevent access to your backyard pool when it’s not in use. Install fencing and use locks/alarms for windows and doors. https://go.usa.gov/xv9s2external icon
- Keep swimmers safe. Know how to recognize and respond to a swimmer in distress and how to perform CPR. https://go.usa.gov/xv9s2external icon
- Using your backyard pool? Pool chemicals protect us from germs but can cause injuries if not handled safely. Check out CDC’s pool chemical safety tips. https://go.usa.gov/xmkFdexternal icon
- Using your backyard pool this summer? Protect kids and pets by keeping pool chemicals out of reach. https://go.usa.gov/xv9Haexternal icon
- Backyard pool owners: Make sure you know how to safely use pool chemicals to help keep everyone safe and healthy this summer. https://go.usa.gov/xv9HYexternal icon
- Backyard pool owners: Order a FREE chemical safety use poster to learn how to safely use pool chemicals and protect yourself, kids, and pets from injury. https://go.usa.gov/xv9H8external icon
Pool Chemical Safety Graphic
In preparation for Healthy and Safe Swimming Week, states or local communities can use content from this press release template to develop their own press release highlighting healthy and safe swimming messages. Use any of the data or tips from the chart to create your press release. This content is intended to be customized to best meet each state’s or local community’s priorities and needs.
For Release [date]
Contact: Name, title
Healthy and Safe Swimming Week 2021
<City, State> — The week before Memorial Day (May 24–30) is Healthy and Safe Swimming Week. The goal of this year’s awareness week is to maximize the health benefits of swimming while minimizing the risk of illness and injury. Just 2.5 hours of physical activity every week, including water-based physical activity, can benefit everyone’s health. Each of us plays a role in preventing illnesses and injuries related to the water we swim, play, and relax in, and share—this summer and year-round.
|Why Is This Important?||A Few Simple but Effective Prevention Steps We Can All Take|
Illnesses caused by the germs in pools and hot tubs
A new CDC report shows that during 2015–2019, >200 outbreaks were linked to pools, hot tubs, and water playgrounds.
Cryptosporidium (or Crypto) can make swimmers sick if they swallow just a mouthful of contaminated water. Although most germs are killed within minutes by chlorine or bromine at the recommended levels, Crypto is a germ that can survive in properly treated water for more than 7 days.
For more info, visit the Healthy Swimming website.
Before getting in:
Once you are in:
Healthy swimming information
Each day, approximately two children less than 15 years old die from drowning. Drowning is the leading cause of injury-related death for children 1–4 years old.
While children are at highest risk, anyone can drown.
For more info, visit the Unintentional Drowning: Get the Facts website.
Stay safe in and around the water
Keep backyard pools safe
Injuries caused by mishandling pool chemicals
Pool chemicals, like chlorine, are needed to protect swimmers’ health. However, mishandling pool chemicals can cause serious injuries. Pool chemical injuries lead to about 4,500 U.S. emergency department visits each year, and over one-third of these preventable injuries are in children or teens.
For more info, visit the Pool Chemical Safety webpage.
Take the following steps to prevent pool chemical injuries:
Prevent violent, potentially explosive, reactions:
You can order a FREE laminated poster on using pool chemicals safely on the CDC-INFO On Demand website, and download and print a poster on storing pool chemicals safely on the Healthy Swimming Posters webpage.
Harmful Algae and Cyanobacterial Blooms
Algae and cyanobacteria (sometimes called blue-green algae) can overgrow or bloom in warm, nutrient-rich water. Some of these blooms can harm people, animals, and the environment. These events are referred to as a harmful algal or cyanobacterial blooms (HABs).
If harmful algal or cyanobacterial blooms produce toxins, they can cause a variety of symptoms, including skin irritation, coughing, sneezing, diarrhea, stomach pain, numbness, and dizziness. Symptoms vary depending on the type of toxin and the type of exposure, such as skin contact, eating contaminated food, swallowing contaminated water, or breathing in tiny contaminated droplets or mist.
For more info, visit the Harmful Algal Blooms website.
Avoid water that contains harmful algal or cyanobacterial blooms—when in doubt, stay out!
Naegleria fowleri “The Brain-eating Ameba”
Naegleria fowleri is a microscopic ameba (a single-celled living organism) that is commonly found in warm freshwater such as in lakes, rivers, and hot springs. If water containing the ameba goes up the nose, the ameba can invade and cause a rare and devastating infection of the brain called primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM).
For more info, visit the Naegleria fowleri website.
Naegleria fowleri infections are rare. The only certain way to prevent an infection due to swimming is to stay out of freshwater. However, you can reduce your chance of getting an infection by limiting the amount of freshwater going up your nose.
To limit the amount of freshwater going up your nose:
The 2020 HSSW toolkit is available as a single PDF containing community outreach suggestions, a list of resources, a sample press release, and suggested social media messages.
The 2019 HSSW toolkit is available as a single PDF containing a cover letter, community outreach suggestions, list of resources, sample press release, sample op-ed, sample proclamation, and suggested social media messages.
The 2018 HSSW toolkit is available as a single PDF, as well as a ZIP file containing individual PDFs. Both files contain a cover letter, community outreach suggestions, list of resources, sample press release, sample op-ed, sample proclamation, and suggested social media messages.