Healthy and Safe Swimming

Share the Fun…not the Germs, and Make a Healthy Splash!


Swimming and other water-related activities are excellent ways to get the physical activity and health benefits needed for a healthy life. However, they are not risk-free. CDC’s Healthy Swimming website provides information for all groups of individuals involved in a healthy and safe swimming experience about how to maximize the health benefits of swimming while minimizing the risk of illness and injury. Each of us plays a role in preventing illnesses and injuries linked to the water we share and swim in, this summer and year-round.

Why Is This Important?

Illnesses caused by the germs – In 2011–2012 (the last years for which national data are available), 90 outbreaks were linked to swimming; almost half of these outbreaks were caused by Cryptosporidium (or “Crypto” for short). Chlorine can kill most germs within minutes at concentrations recommended by CDC and typically required by state and local health departments. But Crypto can survive more than 1 week at these chlorine concentrations. Diarrheal incidents in the water we share and swim in can easily spread germs and potentially cause outbreaks. Because chlorine and other disinfectants don’t kill germs instantly, it’s important to keep these germs, particularly Crypto, out of the water in the first place and not drink the water.

Prevention steps we can all take –

Every swimmer should 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.

Every hour – everyone out!

Take kids on bathroom breaks.

Check diapers and change them in a bathroom or diaper changing area to keep germs away from the pool.


CDC’s Healthy Swimming website

CDC’s Summer Safety website

Watersafety USA

Upcoming Events


Recent Articles