(AscendHealthy.com) – For many of us, summer fun means pulling the bathing suit out and hitting the nearest body of water. Summer swimming can be a lot of fun, but it can also open us up to several dangers we might forget about over the colder months.
Don’t let tragedy overshadow the fun. Be aware of these swimming dangers, and maybe even save a life.
1. Poorly Secured Pools
All pools, both built-in and above ground, pose dangers to people who don’t know how to swim. Young children, who may not even be aware of the threats, are at particular risk. Childproof fencing should always secure built-in pools. Ladders for above-ground pools need to be folded up, locked or otherwise made inaccessible.
2. Poor Pool Maintenance
A dirty or poorly maintained pool can create hazards all its own. Algae create slick surfaces that can pose slipping dangers. Old pump motors and light fixtures can fail — and because these electrical components are underwater, all it takes is one frayed or exposed wire for the current to spread into the pool and create electrocution risks. As pools age, they need regular inspections to ensure they’re still in safe, working order.
Poor pool maintenance may also lead to dangers from numerous types of microbes. Freshwater sources can spread fecal-borne infections, swimmer’s ear and Legionnaires’ disease. Other water sources could harbor even greater threats.
Undertreated pools and freshwater bodies like lakes and streams can house amoeba that may become deadly if they find their way up the nose. Naegleria fowleri can occur in nearly any freshwater source, and infections from this microbe are almost always fatal.
Saltwater can also harbor dangers; flesh-eating bacteria can infect through breaks in the skin, turning a trip to the beach into a trip to the hospital.
4. Roughhousing and Risk-Taking
Water safety begins with being responsible. Children may especially feel the need to take risks or push boundaries. Diving in shallow water and dunking one another under might seem like innocent fun, but they can lead to deadly accidents. Even contests to see who can hold their breath the longest can have deadly consequences. Always have a responsible adult around when kids (or intoxicated adults) play in any body of water — even if it’s just a kiddie pool.
5. ‘Dry Drowning’
Just because a person seems okay after a near-drowning doesn’t necessarily mean it’s okay to stop monitoring them. Children can be at risk of deadly complications for up to 2 hours after aspirating water. Damage to the lungs may also cause coughing and fatigue. It’s critical to carefully watch children who’ve breathed in any amount of water; any unusual changes in behavior merit a trip to the ER.
6. Water Currents
Even strong swimmers get caught off guard by a sudden wave or strong current. Stay aware of surrounding threats and never swim alone in fast-moving streams, where the water can quickly sweep someone away. Beachgoers should watch for signs of riptides, which can drag swimmers out to sea at startling speeds.
7. Chlorine Irritation
Cleveland Clinic warns that chlorine mixes with the ammonia from our bodies to create a gas called chloramine, which tends to build just above the water’s surface. We can take in large breaths of air from this pocket, potentially causing lung irritation and worsening allergies. Indoor swimming pools are more likely to cause severe symptoms.
Summer swimming has its hazards, but taking the time to put safety first can make a big difference. All of the above dangers are avoidable if we take the right precautions. We can avoid worry with some planning. Not a strong swimmer? It’s never too late to learn. Enjoy the summer right by playing hard but also playing it safe.
~Here’s to Your Healthy Ascension
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