Monday, May 23, 2011

Staying Healthy Around Water - Raising Awareness about Recreational Water Illnesses

(Salt Lake City, UT) –The week before Memorial Day (May 23–29, 2011) is Recreational Water Illness and Injury (RWII) Prevention Week. Recreational illnesses include diaherreal illnesses which are caused by germs such as Crypto, Giardia, Shigella, norovirus and E.coli 0157:H7.  The observance is aimed at increasing awareness about healthy and safe swimming behaviors, including ways to prevent recreational water illnesses (RWIs) and injuries.
RWIs can occur when a person:
• swallows water
• breathes in water, or
• comes in contact with contaminated recreational water.
Recreational water includes:
• swimming pools
• hot tubs
• water parks
• water play areas
• interactive fountains
• lakes, rivers, or other bodies of water
This week also begins the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) Bureau of Epidemiology’s surveillance efforts for cryptosporidium.  In the summer and fall of 2007, Utah experienced the largest reported recreational water-associated outbreak of cryptosporidiosis (crypto) in the United States. Between June and December, public health officials confirmed more than 1,900 cases of crypto throughout the state.

Most of the victims reported swimming at a recreational water facility prior to getting sick. Infection with cryptosporidiosis causes watery diarrhea, stomach cramps/pain, nausea, vomiting, fever, and as a result of the diarrhea, dehydration and weight loss. Symptoms usually last about one to two weeks, and may go in cycles in which a person may feel better for a few days, and then feels worse again.   
To keep yourself and others safe from crypto, follow the guidelines below.

• Do not swim if you have diarrhea and don’t let family members, especially young children, either.
• Wait two weeks after diarrhea has stopped before swimming.
• Take a shower with soap and water before swimming (referred to as a “cleansing shower”).
• Do not swallow pool water or get pool water into your mouth.
• Wash your hands with soap and water after using the bathroom or changing a diaper.
• Take regular bathroom breaks while swimming.
• Change diapers often. Change diapers in the bathroom, not at the poolside.
• Wash your child’s bottom with soap and water after changing a diaper and then wash your hands with soap and water.
For more information on RWI prevention, visit
For more information on drowning prevention, visit
For more information about healthy swimming, visit CDC’s Healthy Swimming website at

Media Contact:
Theron Jeppson
Health Educator
(801) 538-6783

# # #