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Virginia Department of Health Urges Safety in Recreational Waters
(Richmond, Va.) As the days get warmer, people begin heading to Virginia’s local beaches, lakes, streams and nearby swimming pools and water parks to cool off. The Virginia Department of Health reminds everyone to avoid illness and injury while enjoying the water.
“Children are often the most susceptible to recreational water illnesses and injuries, especially drowning,” said State Health Commissioner Cynthia C. Romero, MD, FAAFP. “So it is important for adults to stay alert, be mindful of potential risks, provide close supervision and take preventive measures to keep children, as well as themselves and others, healthy and safe in and around the water.”
Although fatalities and non-fatal injuries continue to occur from recreational water usage, drowning and water-related injuries are often preventable. In 2012, there were 81 unintentional deaths due to drowning in Virginia with the majority (69 percent) occurring in natural waters and 22 percent in swimming pools and bathtubs.
To reduce the risk of drowning and water-related injuries:
It is also important to take precautions to prevent the spread of germs caused by swallowing, breathing in mists or having contact with germs in contaminated water in swimming pools, hot tubs, lakes, rivers, oceans or other water bodies. The most common illnesses are gastrointestinal infections. Symptoms may include nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. Other illnesses associated with recreational water can result in eye, skin, ear, respiratory, neurologic and wound infections.
Follow these healthy swimming guidelines to help protect you, your family, and other swimmers from illness:
Protect against skin damage and skin cancer by using sunscreen with sun protective factor (SPF) 15 or higher, and both UVA and UVB protection. Wear clothing to protect exposed skin, a hat with a wide brim to shade the face, head, ears and neck, and sunglasses that wrap around and block as close to 100 percent of both UVA and UVB rays as possible.
For more information on Illness prevention, please visit:
For more information on swimming advisories in coastal waters, please visit
For more information on drowning prevention, please visit