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article imageOlympic champion Amanda Beard promotes 'healthy' swimming

By Tim Sandle     Aug 12, 2013 in Health
Seven-times Olympic medalist and mom Amanda Beard has teamed up with the U.S. CDC to promote a swimming campaign, with the aim of promoting ‘healthy’ swimming.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. health organization and Amanda Beard are teaming up to encourage people to take steps to protect themselves and their family and friends while swimming.
The CDC notes that whilst swimming and other water-based exercises have many health benefits, there are some infection risks. For instance, if a swimmer brings feces into the pool by not showering before swimming or has diarrhea, the pool could be easily be contaminated with germs that cause illness. These germs can be spread when other swimmers swallow the contaminated water. For example, a CDC study conducted during 2012 found evidence of fecal contamination in over half (59 percent) of pools tested.
Because a pool is treated with chlorine, this does not mean that all risks have been eliminated. This is because chlorine does not kill all germs instantly. There are germs today that are very tolerant to chlorine and were not known to cause human disease until recently.
As a result of the campaign, the CDC recommends that all swimmers take the following three important steps:
1) Keep feces and other contaminants out of the water.
Do not swim when you have diarrhea.
Shower with soap before you start swimming.
Take bathroom breaks every 60 minutes.
Wash your hands with soap after using the toilet or changing diapers.
2) Check the free chlorine level and pH before getting into the water.
Pools: Proper free chlorine (1–3 mg/L or parts per million [ppm]) and pH (7.2–7.8) levels maximize germ-killing power.
Most superstores, hardware stores, and pool-supply stores sell pool test strips.
Do not swallow the water you swim in.
3) CDC recommends that parents of young children also take the following steps:
Take children on bathroom breaks every 60 minutes or check diapers every 30–60 minutes.
Change diapers in the bathroom or diaper-changing area and not at poolside where germs can rinse into the water.
Always supervise children when they are in or around water.
To front the new campaign, the CDC has enlisted Amanda Beard. Beard is a former world record holder in the 200-meter breaststroke (long course). Her Olympic medal tally consisted of two gold, four silver, and one bronze award. Beard's success has earned her the American Swimmer of the Year Award twice.
More about Swimming, CDC, Fecal, Health, Water
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