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Health Department Observes National Recreational Water Illness Prevention Week

The week preceding Memorial Day has been designated as National Recreational Water Illness Prevention Week. This year, the observance will take place May 21-27. In conjunction with this week, the Lake County Health Department/Community Health Center is reminding residents about the importance of healthy swimming behaviors and recreational water illness prevention.
“Lake County is fortunate to be home to numerous recreational lakes, making this county a great place for summer activities,” said the Health Department’s Executive Director Irene Pierce. “However, to avoid water illnesses, it’s important that residents remember to practice healthy swimming behaviors.”
Healthy swimming behaviors include: Don’t swim when you have diarrhea. You can spread germs in the water and make other people sick. Don’t swallow the pool or lake water. In fact, avoid getting water in your mouth. Practice good hygiene. Shower before swimming and wash your hands after using the toilet or changing diapers. Germs on your body end up in the water.
Take children on bathroom breaks or change diapers often. Waiting to hear “I have to go” may mean that it’s too late. Change diapers in a bathroom and not at poolside. Germs can spread to surfaces and objects in and around the pool and spread illness. Wash your child thoroughly (especially the rear end) with soap and water before swimming. People commonly have minute amounts of fecal matter on their skin that end up in the pool. All children who are not toilet-trained should wear tight-fitting rubber or plastic pants.
Recreational water illnesses (RWIs) are spread by swimming in water contaminated as a result of poorly maintained recreational water venues, the presence of chlorine-resistant germs, or runoff-related contamination of lake beaches. The public’s awareness of RWIs and appropriate swimming behaviors play a pivotal role in RWI transmission. Swimmers who are ill with diarrhea may contaminate swimming venues. This poses health risks for the healthy swimmers in the pool or lake.
The Health Department monitors the beaches on Lake Michigan as well as many of the beaches on inland lakes in the county, and coordinates with beach operators on when swim bans should occur. Health Department staff also inspects and responds to citizen concerns for all public swimming pools in Lake County. For more information regarding Recreational Water Illness Prevention Week, call: (847) 377-8030 or visit:

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