Safe Swimming

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.

Healthy and Safe Swimming Week 2023

The week before Memorial Day, May 22-28, 2023, marks the 19th 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.

Working together, we can help to prevent people from getting sick from waterborne illness.

Got Diarrhea? Don’t Swim!

To prevent illness while swimming, follow these steps:

  • Don't swim if you have had vomiting or diarrhea.
  • Did you know swallowing even a small amount of water contaminated with diarrhea germs can make you sick for up to 3 weeks? Don’t swallow water at the pool or splash pad!
  • Jets in pools, spas, and splash pads can rinse germs found in poop off butts. Swallowing the water with those germs can make you sick. Chlorine doesn’t kill germs instantly.
  • Shower with soap and water BEFORE and AFTER enjoying a swim.
  • Provide continuous and close supervision to recreators - no running to avoid slips and falls!
  • Swallowing the water with those germs can make you sick. Chlorine doesn’t kill germs instantly.
  • Did you know that it can take chlorine minutes—and sometimes even days—to kill germs in splash pad water? Swallowing water with germs can cause diarrhea or vomiting.
  • Going for a swim with kids? Take a break every hour to use the bathroom or check diapers. Change diapers away from the water to help keep germs from getting in.