The summer months mean public pools, private pools, lakes, oceans, and river excursions. People love to spend time on the water, swimming and having all kinds of recreational fun, but water can be contaminated with germs that cause diarrhea and other illnesses. Most pregnant women can feel free to spend time in the water; swimming is considered one of the best exercises for pregnant women, though practicing basic hygiene is extremely important during swimming season.

Basic Hand Washing and Pool Safety
One of the more common germs that cause diarrhea and other recreational water illnesses is carried to pool water via traces of feces left on hands after using the bathroom, changing diapers or cleaning up after a family pet. Basic hand washing rules should be followed before entering a public or private pool to prevent water contamination. If you set the basic rule that all swimmers must wash their hands before entering the pool every time, the risk of contaminating water is greatly reduced. Children should be watched closely as poor hand washing is common, especially in younger children.

Showering Before Swimming
Public pools often ask swimmers to rinse off before swimming, but the CDC suggests showering with soap and water before swimming to remove any traces of fecal material from the body. The perineal area and hands are most often associated with germs that cause recreational illness, so remind children to wash all personal areas thoroughly before exiting the shower.

Does Hand Sanitizer Kill Germs That Cause Recreational Water Illness?
Hand sanitizers with an alcohol base will NOT kill crypto, the most common germ responsible for recreational water illnesses. If hands are visibly dirty, hand sanitizers will not work effectively. Hand sanitizers should only be used when soap and water are not readily available. The antibacterial helps prevent bacteria from clinging to the hand’s surface, but it may not affect bacteria or germs already present on the hand, especially germs found under fingernails.

Basic hygiene is extremely important in the prevention of recreational water illness. Pregnant women are more susceptible to infection because the immune system is not quite as strong during pregnancy. Even if pregnant women avoid potentially dangerous water sources like hot tubs, spas and untreated waters of lakes, rivers, and oceans, they can still contract recreational water illnesses from other family members and friends. Preventing infection starts with good hygiene and proper hand washing and body washing prior to entering pools and other water sources.


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