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2006 News from Mecklenburg County


May 24, 2006

HEALTH DEPARTMENT REMINDER: SAFETY FIRST AS SWIMMING POOLS OPEN FOR SUMMER SEASON

Charlotte, NC – As Mecklenburg County residents celebrate the Memorial Day holiday and dive into summer, many will relax in or near a swimming pool. Most public pools are open from Memorial Day through Labor Day. The Health Department is encouraging everyone to practice safe and healthy habits while enjoying swimming pools throughout the summer.

The Mecklenburg County Health Department conducts inspections of public pools, regulates their construction, and responds to citizen concerns to help ensure that these pools are safe and sanitary. County inspectors inspect and issue permits for more than 1,200 public swimming, wading, recreational water activity, and whirlpools each year. A public pool is any pool that is not in the backyard of a single-family home intended for use by a family and its guests.

Regardless of location, the Health Department encourages all pool users and owners to take personal responsibility for health and safety. Swimmers who use public pools and families who own their own pools should be knowledgeable about and practice pool safety. If any hazard is observed, leave the water immediately and notify a responsible person of the problem.

Poor pool water quality can be a cause of disease-causing bacteria such as E. coli and cryptosporidium. These types of organisms can live in the water for a period of time, even in pools treated with the proper amount of chemical disinfectant.

To reduce exposure to disease:

· Toddlers should wear close-fitting swimsuits.

· Children in diapers should wear snug fitting rubber pants over the diaper.

· Do not change diapers at poolside.

· Young children should make frequent trips to the restroom.

· After using the restroom or changing a child's diaper, wash your hands thoroughly using warm water and soap.

· Do not swallow pool water.

· Anyone who has had diarrhea in the previous two weeks should not go in the pool.

Each year more than 40,000 people nationwide are injured in and around swimming pools and more than 600 drown in home or public pools. Some basic guidelines to keep you and your family safe include:

· Never leave small children unattended-even for a few seconds

· Keep children away from openings into the pool where water suction may occur. Serious injury and deaths have been caused by suction entrapment.

· Be sure all pool users know how to swim. Learners should be accompanied by an experienced swimmer.

· Don't swim alone or allow others to swim alone.

· Don't allow anyone who has been drinking or using drugs to use the pool.

· Get out of the pool immediately at the first sign of a lightning storm.

· Never use a pool which has any electrical cord, open light, or device therein

· Never dive into an above-ground pool and check the water depth before jumping into an in-ground pool

· Don't swim if you are tired or have just finished eating.

Sticking to these basic rules will insure that you and your loved ones have a safe and happy summer this year and for years to come.

For more information:

- Mecklenburg County Health Department: 704-336-5101 or www.meckhealth.org.

- Centers for Disease Control: www.cdc.gov/healthyswimming

- National Safety Council: www.nsc.org/pubs/fsh/archive/summr00/pools.htm



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