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The original item was published from 6/26/2015 5:35:54 PM to 6/26/2015 5:37:00 PM.

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Posted on: June 26, 2015

[ARCHIVED] Swimmers urged to help prevent illnesses at pools, water parks

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Summer is officially under way and that means families will be hitting swimming pools and water parks more often for recreation, fun, and to simply cool off.

While these are great places to be active, they’re also places where germs can be spread. Contrary to popular belief, chlorine and other disinfectants don’t kill germs instantly. It can take anywhere from minutes to days for chlorine to kill them. Swallowing just a little water that contains germs can make you sick.

“We encourage residents to protect themselves and others from illnesses by practicing healthy behaviors,” said Environmental Health Specialist Andrew Stull, of the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department.

Here are a few easy and effective steps all swimmers can take to prevent illnesses:

• Stay out of the water if you have diarrhea.
• Shower before you get in the water.
• Don’t pee or poop in the water.
• Don’t swallow the water.
• Take kids on bathroom breaks.
• Check diapers and change them in a bathroom or diaper-changing area — not poolside — to keep germs away from pool.
Stull said pools and water parks should not have a strong chemical smell. If you smell chlorine, what you smell are actually chemicals that form when chlorine mixes with pee, poop, sweat and dirt from swimmers’ bodies. These chemicals — not chlorine — can cause your eyes to get red and sting, make your nose run and make you cough.

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