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Make summer swimming safe

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The Minnesota Department of Health has some simple steps to make summer swimming safe whether it can be in the pool or the lake.

State health officials are taking the opportunity to remind Minnesotans that we all have a role to play when it comes to keeping swimming healthy and fun.

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The best way to prevent recreational water illnesses is to keep germs out of the water in the first place. Swimmers can protect themselves and others by following these six steps:

• Don't swallow pool or lake water.

• Practice good hygiene. Shower with soap before swimming.

• Wash your hands thoroughly after using the toilet or changing diapers.

• Don't swim when you have diarrhea.

• Take children on bathroom breaks or change diapers often.

• Change diapers in a bathroom, not at poolside or beachside.

The most common symptom of recreational water illness is diarrhea, which in some cases can be severe enough to result in hospitalization. Symptoms may not develop until a week or more after swimming.

For more information about healthy swimming, visit the Minnesota Department of Health's Waterborne Illness webpage at http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/idepc/dtopics/waterborne/index.html or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Healthy Swimming webpage at http://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/swimming/.

To report suspected waterborne illness, call the Minnesota Department of Health's Foodborne and Waterborne Illness Hotline at (800)366-3455.

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