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Healthy and Safe Swimming

There is no evidence showing anyone has gotten COVID-19 through drinking water, recreational water, or wastewater. The risk of COVID-19 transmission through water is expected to be low. Get answers to other questions about COVID-19 and water.

Pools, hot tubs/spas, and water playgrounds are great places to have fun, be active, or just relax. Learn how to stay healthy and safe when in the water this summer!

Swimming is one of the most popular sports activities in the United States. Just 2.5 hours of physical activity per week, including water-based activity, has health benefits, no matter our age.

As with any form of physical activity, we increase the health benefits when we each do our part to decrease the risks of illness and injury.

Share the Fun, Not the Germs!

Swimming is a fun way to be healthy and spend time with family and friends. However, it’s important not to swim or let your kids swim if they have diarrhea. Just one diarrheal incident in the water can release millions of diarrhea-causing germs like Crypto (short for Cryptosporidium), Giardia, Shigella, norovirus, and E. coli. This can make other swimmers sick if they swallow a mouthful of contaminated water.

Most germs are killed within minutes by common pool disinfectants like chlorine or bromine, but Crypto is a germ that can survive in properly chlorinated water for more than 7 days. This is why Crypto is the leading cause of U.S. outbreaks linked to swimming.

Swim Healthy, Be Healthy!

We can all help protect ourselves and our loved ones from germs by following a few simple but effective steps.

Before getting in…

  1. Don’t swim or let children swim if sick with diarrhea.

  2. Check out the latest inspection results. You can find inspection scores online or on-site.

  3. Do your own mini-inspection. Use test strips to make sure the disinfectant (chlorine or bromine) level and pH are correct.

  4. Free chlorine concentration of at least 1 ppm in pools and water playgrounds

  5. Bromine concentration of at least 3 ppm in pools and water playgrounds

  6. pH 7.2–7.8

  7. Shower for at least 1 minute before you get into the water. This will remove most of the dirt and sweat on your body.

Once in…

  1. Don’t swallow the water.

  2. Don’t pee in the water.

  3. Take kids on bathroom breaks and check diapers every hour.

  4. Change diapers in a bathroom or diaper-changing area—not poolside—to keep germs away from the pool.

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