North Santa Rosa


Milton, FL – For many people, Memorial Day (Monday, May 26) marks the beginning of Summer and swimming season.  Swimming is a good way to exercise and beat the heat on hot summer days and Santa Rosa County offers many opportunities to enjoy the water, including beaches, rivers, lakes, and pools.  During Recreational Water Illness and Injury (RWII) Prevention Week, the Florida Department of Health in Santa Rosa County (DOH-Santa Rosa) encourages everyone to take steps to protect themselves from illnesses and accidents that can occur in and around the water.


General Water Safety


In the United States, about 10 people a day die from accidental drowning, and among children 1-4 years of age only birth defects claim more lives.  Whether you and your family swim at the beach, in a lake or river, or in a pool or hot tub, there are steps you can take to be safe in the water.  The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends:


  • Learn to swim and never swim alone.
  • Swim in areas where there is a lifeguard.
  • Children, inexperienced swimmers, and non-swimmers should wear a Coast Guard approved personal flotation device (life vest).
  • Never leave children unattended.  For younger children, practice “reach supervision” by staying within arm’s length of the child.
  • When monitoring swimmers, avoid distracting activities such as reading or talking on the phone.
  • Read and obey all posted signs and rules.  Know the meaning of warning flags and obey them.
  • Only dive in areas or pools clearly marked for diving.
  • Always enter the water feet first.
  • Be aware of possible hazards, such as shallow or deep areas, sudden drop-offs, currents, or debris.
  • Avoid alcohol before or during swimming and when operating a boat, personal watercraft, or water skiing.


Water Related Illnesses


Recreational water illnesses can be caused by bacteria and other contaminants in the water from runoff, animals, and humans.  Swallowing even a small amount of water can be enough to make you sick.  The most common illness is diarrhea, caused by viruses such as norovirus, bacteria such as Shigella, or microscopic parasites called Giardia.  Others may be caused by bacteria that occur naturally in the water, like Vibrio vulnificus.  Here are some precautions you can take to reduce your risk of waterborne illnesses:



  • Do not swallow the water you swim in.
  • Keep human waste out of the water by not swimming if you have diarrhea and not allowing children with diarrhea to swim.
  • Take children on bathroom breaks every 60 minutes or check diapers every 30-60 minutes.
  • Change diapers in the bathroom or diaper changing area, not poolside.
  • Keep pools, hot tubs, and spas properly treated to maintain proper chlorine and pH levels.
  • Use caution when entering the water if you have a chronic condition that can weaken your immune system, such as diabetes, heart disease, HIV, if you are an organ transplant recipient, or if you have sores or breaks in the skin, as bacteria can enter the body through these, also.
  • Always shower thoroughly after swimming, and if you develop symptoms of illness, rashes, or signs of infection in a cut or sore, see your health care provider as soon as possible.


For more information on Recreational Water Illness and Injury Prevention Week 2014 visit the Centers for Disease Control website at:


For more information on how to prevent drowning, go to:

Posted by on May 22 2014. Filed under Local. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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