The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) urges beachgoers and those using and maintaining swimming pools, spas, and water parks to focus on simple steps that can be taken to help ensure a healthy and safe swimming experience for everyone.
Information available through the links below describes the role of swimmers, aquatics and beach staff, residential pool owners, and public health officials in preventing drowning, swimming-related injuries, and waterborne illnesses. Click to learn more about swimmer hygiene and how you can take an active role to protect yourself while swimming and prevent the spread of germs:
Virginia has a variety of natural waters enjoyed by locals and tourists alike for swimming, boating, and fishing activities. However, it is important to know that water quality in these waters is continuously changing and can be susceptible to pollution that can cause health risks to people. Learn more about monitoring programs run by VDH and other state agencies and organizations to help protect users of natural waters.
VDH’s Beach Advisory Map is updated weekly with current swimming advisories. Local Health Departments collect water samples weekly for laboratory analysis and will issue a swimming advisory if bacteria levels exceed Virginia’s Water Quality Standard for enterococci bacteria. Learn more about beach monitoring activities at the Beach Monitoring link above.
Most algae do not harm people, wildlife, or the environment. But some types of algae in Virginia can be dangerous. Algae species in fresh and salt water may multiply rapidly when environmental conditions are favorable for their development. Most algal blooms are not harmful but some do affect fish and humans, as well as other animals like birds and marine mammals. These are known as Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs). If water is discolored, murky, has an odor, or if there appears to be a film on the water surface, swimming is not advised for humans or pets. Learn more about HABs and how to report them by clinking on the Harmful Algae Blooms link above.
Want to help children and teens stay safe and healthy while swimming? Have them take the Healthy Swimming Pledge, available at the link above!
For more information on waterborne pathogens, please see the links in the left-hand sidebar under Waterborne Hazards Control.
Healthy and Safe Swimming Week
The week before Memorial Day, May 22–28, 2017, marks the thirteenth annual Healthy and Safe Swimming Week. Nationwide, communities will be collaborating and engaging in discussion about how to maximize the health benefits of water-based physical activity while minimizing the risk of recreational water–associated illness and injury.
View our press release above to read how Virginians can work together to keep out natural waters and pools safe places to swim and have fun. Working together, we can help to prevent people from getting sick from waterborne illness.
CDC- Healthy Swimming Visit this website for more information on how to enjoy swimming safely. You can also access and download a variety of health promotion materials, including brochures, fact sheets, infographics, and more.
CDC- Healthy and Safe Swimming Week Healthy and Safe Swimming Week is celebrated nationwide! Visit this webpage for information on the history of this week and to learn more about recreational water illnesses (RWIs).