FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE              Connecticut Department of Public Health

May 14, 2009                                             Contact:  William Gerrish

                                                                   (860) 509-7270


Hartford In recognition of National Recreational Water Illness Prevention Week (May 18-24, 2009), the Connecticut Department of Public Health urges residents to be aware of steps they can take to prevent recreational water injuries and illnesses to make the summer season as enjoyable as possible.  Health officials are emphasizing the prevention of pool chemical injuries, and the importance of healthy swimming behaviors.  

“Pool chemicals make the water where we swim safer by protecting us from germs; however, these same chemicals can also cause injuries if they are not properly handled,” stated DPH Commissioner Dr. J. Robert Galvin.  “This type of preventable injury leads to thousands of emergency room visits nationally each year,” he said.  Public pool operators and residential pool owners can protect themselves and swimmers by taking these key steps:


  • Always secure pool chemicals: Keep children and animals away.
  • Always read product name and manufacturer’s directions before each use.
  • Always use appropriate protective gear, such as safety glasses and gloves when handling pool chemicals.
  • Never mix chlorine products with each other, acid, or other substances.

“Even a well maintained pool can transmit Cryptosporidium (“Crypto”), a chlorine resistant parasite,” so awareness of recreational water illnesses (RWIs) and healthy swimming behaviors play an important role in stopping transmission of RWIs,” Dr. Galvin said.  “Residents need to remember that germs on and in swimmers’ bodies end up in the water and can make other people sick.  Even healthy swimmers can get sick from RWIs, but the young, elderly, pregnant women and immunosuppressed persons are especially at risk.”

In order to reduce the threat of RWIs, there are specific actions one can take to promote healthy swimming.  These include:

            ·        Do not swim when you have diarrhea.  

·        Do not swallow pool water or get pool water in your mouth.

·        Shower before swimming (children too!).

·        Wash your hands after using the toilet or changing diapers.

·        Take children on bathroom breaks or change diapers often.

·        Change children’s diapers in a bathroom, not at poolside.

For more information about Recreational Water Illness Prevention Week and Healthy Swimming, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “Healthy Swimming” website at

The Connecticut Department of Public Health is the state’s leader in public health policy and advocacy with a mission to protect and promote the health and safety of the people of our state.  To contact the department, please visit its website at  or call (860) 509-7270.