In honor of the CDC's Healthy and Safe Swimming Week, NBC News Medical Contributor Dr. Natalie Azar and NBC News Health co-hosted a Twitter chat with the CDC to share the latest tips on pool safety.
I was the moderator for the chat-via-tweets that was based on the CDC's latest data, which provided a good opportunity to provide valuable information to our viewers as they head into Memorial Day weekend and summer.
For the event, the CDC did a deep dive into data that came from the five states with the highest number of public pools and hot tubs: Arizona, California, Florida, New York and Texas.
Key findings included:
- Almost 80 percent of health inspections found at least one violation
- Nearly 1 in 8 health inspections found a serious violation that led to immediate closure of the venue
- The biggest offenders: 1 in 5 kiddie/wading pools were closed — the highest proportion of closures among all inspected venues
- The top three categories of violations concerned pH levels, safety equipment and disinfectant concentration.
Despite that bad news, it was still an engaging conversation. The CDC gave us surprising statistics and helpful safety tips, while Dr. Azar, a mom of two herself, gave us some great health advice, and the audience kept the questions coming.
Here are some of the highlights from the chat:
- Don't forget to protect yourself with sunscreen (The CDC recommends at least SPF 15 but Dr. Azar suggests you to go for SPF30).
- Shower before getting in the pool: Keep the sweat and dirt out of the water.
- Make sure young children wear life vests that fit them. Not too big.
- Keep the pee and poop out of the pool. That may seem obvious, but the CDC discovered that many people still don't realize you need to stay out the water if you have diarrhea or an open wound. And change diapers away from the water.
- Don't swallow pool water.
- Keep an eye on kids at all times while at the pool. Children can drown in seconds and in silence.
- Take kids out of the pool at least once an hour, every hour for bathroom breaks, to re-hydrate them with water, and to re-apply sunscreen.
- Dry ears with a towel to help prevent earaches and infections.
Here are some additional resources for a healthy summer of swimming.
- The CDC's new Healthy Swimming website is a one-stop shop for information:www.cdc.gov/healthyswimming
- Free downloads and some printed materials (posters, fact sheets, etc.): http://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/swimming/materials/index.html.
- The 2nd edition of the CDC's Model Aquatic Health Code will be released this summer:www.cdc.gov/mahc