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Announcements: Recreational Water Illness and Injury Prevention Week — May 21–27, 2012

May 21–27, 2012, marks the eighth annual Recreational Water Illness and Injury Prevention Week. This observance highlights simple steps swimmers and pool operators can take to reduce health and safety risks at pools, interactive fountains, and other recreational water venues.

Recreational water illness (RWI) can result from ingesting, inhaling aerosols, or having contact with contaminated water from swimming pools, hot tubs, water play areas, interactive fountains, lakes, rivers, or oceans. These illnesses also can be caused by chemicals in the water or chemicals that evaporate from the water. Injuries and drowning also can occur in and around recreational water. Drowning is the leading cause of injury death among children aged 1–4 years. On average, 10 persons die from drowning every day, including two aged <15 years (1).

With the number of RWI outbreaks increasing, swimmers need to take an active role in protecting themselves and preventing transmission of pathogens by not swimming when ill with diarrhea, not swallowing recreational water, and showering with soap before swimming (2).* To prevent drowning, adults and children should know how to swim, caregivers should know cardiopulmonary resuscitation, all boaters and weaker swimmers should use lifejackets, and backyard swimming pools should be separated from the house and yard by a fence with self-closing and self-latching gate.

Additional information on healthy swimming is available from CDC at Useful information on prevention of water-related injuries also is available at


  1. CDC. Drowning—United States, 2005–2009. MMWR 2012;61:344–7.
  2. CDC. Promotion of healthy swimming after a statewide outbreak of cryptosporidiosis associated with recreational water venues—Utah, 2008–2009. MMWR 2012;61:348–52.

* Additional information at

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