Healthy Swimming RVA
Swimming pools are inspected and the water is tested to ensure a safe swimming environment for bathers. All public swimming pools are inspected throughout the summer and all tourist establishment swimming pools are inspected annually. Germs in the places we swim can cause a variety of illnesses, including gastrointestinal, skin, ear, respiratory, eye, neurologic, and wound infections. Germs can get into the water in different ways: when they wash off of swimmers’ bodies; when swimmers have diarrheal incidents in the water; and even when rainwater runs off near local beaches and swimming areas. Three of the most common germs that cause waterborne illnesses in Virginia are Cryptosporidium, Giardia, and Vibrio.
Regulations regarding swimming pools:
Steps to Protect Yourself & Others:
- Don’t swim when you have diarrhea. Just one diarrheal incident can release enough germs into the water that swallowing a mouthful can cause diarrhea lasting 2-3 weeks.
- Don’t swallow pool water, and don’t drink water directly from streams, lakes, or other bodies of water.
- Practice good hygiene. Shower with soap before swimming and wash your hands with soap after using the toilet or changing diapers. Germs on your body end up in the water.
- Avoid exposing open wounds or cuts to salt or brackish water. If exposed, wash the affected area right away with soap and clean water.
- If you become ill, visit your primary healthcare provider.
Prevent drowning and swimming-related injuries by following these simple steps:
- Learn to swim. Learn life-saving skills, including swimming basics and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
- Be prepared. Have rescue equipment by the pool, post 9-1-1 emergency information, and think through an emergency action plan.
- Supervise when in or near the water. Never leave a child unsupervised near a pool/spa, standing body of water, pond, bathtub, toilet, or water-filled bucket. Look in pools first if a child is missing.
- Clear the pool and deck of toys. Remove toys from the pool and surrounding area immediately after use so children aren’t tempted to enter the pool area unsupervised.
- Use the buddy system when swimming or boating.
- Communicate pool safety tips with the babysitter and ensure they are trained in CPR.
- Use Coast Guard-approved life jackets. Never rely only on flotation devices (water wings, noodles) or swimming lessons to protect a child.
- Install four-sided fencing. An unclimbable, five-foot fence should separate the pool/spa from residences. Fence openings should be no more than four inches wide so children cannot squeeze through spaces. Fence gates should be self-closing and self-latching. Areas beside the outside of the fence should be free of objects that can help children climb the fence, such as tables, chairs, or tree branches.
- Don’t swim in the dark.
- Avoid alcohol before and during swimming.
Click here for more VDH information on safe swimming.
Need help finding resources?
Call (804) 205-3500 or 211
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