Health Department Recognizes National Recreational Water Illness Prevention Week

Celebrate the Season with Healthy Swimming Habits

For Immediate Release: May 21, 2009
Media Contact: Communication Office
Vermont Department of Health
802-863-7281

BURLINGTON, Vt. — Recreational water illnesses caused by parasites, viruses and bacteria can be avoided with common-sense precautions such as keeping germs out of the pool, knowing the status of recreational waterways and beaches, and practicing good health habits with infants and young children.

The week before Memorial Day (May 18–24, 2009) has been designated as National Recreational Water Illness Prevention Week by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC).

“There are so many outstanding places to swim in Vermont, including more than 45 state parks with beaches and swimming areas that are monitored to ensure safe recreational water throughout the summer,” said Austin Sumner, MD, MPH, state epidemiologist for environmental health. “Each year we advise people to be aware of the water quality. We track common hazards such as blue-green algae, and remind people to make sure that indoor and outdoor pools are properly cleaned and maintained.”

The Vermont Department of Health wants to raise awareness about ways to prevent waterborne illnesses and injuries caused by swallowing water, breathing in vapors from chemically treated pools, or having contact with contaminated water in swimming pools, spas, fountains, lakes, ponds and rivers.

Waterborne illnesses can cause a variety of symptoms including gastrointestinal, skin, ear, respiratory, eye, neurologic and wound infections. The most commonly reported symptom is diarrhea, which can be caused by Cryptosporidium, Giardia, Shigella, E.coli O157:H7 and Norovirus.

Everyone can help create healthy swimming experiences this summer by following these healthy swimming steps:

For more information on National Recreational Water Illness Prevention Week visit: http://www.cdc.gov/healthySwimming/rwi_prevention_week.htm.

Vermonters who are interested in testing the suitability of their swimming areas’ water quality can purchase a kit B from the Health Department Laboratory. For more information:

http://healthvermont.gov/enviro/water/recwater.aspx#seven

For a map of Vermont State Parks that offer swimming areas, please see the amenities map at: http://www.vtstateparks.com/htm/map.cfm and click on the “swimming” check box. Vermonters who swim could dip a toe into the chilly waters, or take a plunge, during Vermont Days June 13 & 14, 2009 with free entry into all state parks the entire weekend.

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