Healthy Swimming Habits

Your Guide to Water Safety

For many fam­i­lies, swim­ming is a favorite sum­mer pas­time and is a great way to cool off on a hot sum­mer day. From fatigue to dehy­dra­tion, it is impor­tant to take pre­cau­tions to pre­vent injury or ill­ness when­ev­er you spend time in the water. Here are some healthy swim­ming habits that will help keep you and your fam­i­ly safe while enjoy­ing your time in the water this summer.

Gen­er­al Safe­ty Tips

Know Your Limits

  • Under­stand your swim­ming capa­bil­i­ty and endurance.
  • Chil­dren and adults who are not strong swim­mers should always wear a per­son­al floata­tion device when in or around water.
  • Fatigue can set in quick­ly, espe­cial­ly in chil­dren. Take breaks often and aim for a 10 – 15 minute rest every hour.

Safe­ty First

  • Always swim in des­ig­nat­ed areas. These areas are super­vised by life­guards and marked where it is safe to swim.
  • When get­ting into water, always enter feet first as hid­den debris can cause severe head or spinal injury. You should nev­er dive into murky, dark water or pools of unknown depths.
  • Nev­er leave chil­dren of any age unat­tend­ed in or near water, espe­cial­ly dur­ing social gath­er­ings. An adult should always be avail­able to super­vise young swimmers.
  • Even if you are an adult or an advanced swim­mer, you should still use the bud­dy sys­tem. If an acci­dent were to occur, your bud­dy could help save your life and pull you to safety.
  • To pre­vent injuries, make sure chil­dren are not run­ning near water as they can slip and fall.
  • If you see light­ning or hear thun­der, have every­one get out of the pool and move indoors.

Stay Hydrat­ed

  • Although swim­ming is refresh­ing, you are still engag­ing in phys­i­cal activ­i­ty. As with any exer­cise, it is impor­tant to stay hydrat­ed. Be sure to drink plen­ty of flu­ids, even if you don’t feel thirsty.

Prac­tice Good Hygiene

  • Lit­tle swim­mers are often hav­ing too much fun to notice when they need to use the restroom. Encour­ag­ing your child to take reg­u­lar bath­room breaks keeps the water clean for all swimmers.
  • Yeast and oth­er bac­te­ria thrive in damp, warm places. You can reduce your risk of devel­op­ing vagi­nal yeast or bac­te­r­i­al infec­tions by chang­ing into dry clothes when you are fin­ished swimming.

Eye Safe­ty Tips

Swim­ming can make your eyes dry or irri­tat­ed, caus­ing red­ness or a burn­ing sen­sa­tion. You can pre­vent eye irri­ta­tion while swim­ming by: 

Drink­ing Plen­ty of Water

  • Stay­ing hydrat­ed helps main­tain mois­ture in your eyes.

Rins­ing Your Eyes

  • If your eyes become dry or irri­tat­ed, splash cool, clean water on your face and flush out your eyes.

Wear­ing Goggles

  • Gog­gles are a great way to keep chem­i­cals used in most pools, like chlo­rine, out of your eyes.

Remov­ing Con­tact Lenses

  • Wear­ing con­tact lens­es while swim­ming can increase your risk of devel­op­ing bac­te­r­i­al, fun­gal and par­a­sitic eye infections.

Skin Safe­ty Tips

The sun’s ultra­vi­o­let rays aren’t the only threat to your skin dur­ing the sum­mer. You can keep your skin healthy and pro­tect­ed all sum­mer long by fol­low­ing these tips:

Reg­u­lar­ly Apply­ing Sunscreen

  • Apply sun­screen 30 min­utes before head­ing out­side and reap­ply every two hours and imme­di­ate­ly after swim­ming. Be sure to apply under the edges of your swim­suit and the tops of the feet and ears.

Show­er­ing Before and After Swimming 

  • Rins­ing off before you jump into the pool will remove dirt or oth­er con­tain­ments from your body. While chlo­rine is an effec­tive way to kill many germs found in pub­lic pools, it can be harsh on your skin. Show­er­ing after a swim can help keep your skin from becom­ing dry or irritated.

Apply­ing Lotion After a Day at the Pool

  • Water draws mois­ture out of your skin, mak­ing it more dry than usu­al. Apply­ing lotion after show­er­ing can help pre­vent dryness.

When you are spend­ing time in the water this sum­mer, prac­tic­ing healthy swim­ming habits will keep you and your fam­i­ly safe. For more tips on sum­mer safe­ty and stay­ing well, sched­ule an appoint­ment with one of our pri­ma­ry care physi­cians online, or by call­ing your pre­ferred location.

Health Topics:

  • Elizabeth Giese, MD - Wheaton Family Doctor

    I spend time with patients to better understand their health and concerns. When a patient leaves a visit with me, my goal is for them to understand their medical conditions along with why a particular treatment was chosen. It's important to make medical treatments and lifestyle changes realistic, adjusting to match each person's individual situation.