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Is it Safe to Swim During COVID-19?

Author: CHKD Medical Group, Dr. Peter Grosso
Published Date: Monday, August 10, 2020

By Dr. Peter Grosso, Nansemond Pediatrics

Swimming in the pool may be one of the safer summer activities for families to do during the current pandemic.

So far, there’s no evidence that COVID-19 can spread to people through recreational water, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, everyone still needs to take precautions in and out of the pool, and the water has to have the right chemical balance.

Here are some swimming pool guidelines to help prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  • If you and your family are swimming with other people who don’t live in your home, keep six feet away from each other at all times. Make sure there’s enough space in the pool for everyone to maintain that distance.
  • Space chairs and loungers around the pool so that they are six feet apart.
  • Wear a cloth face covering when you’re not in the pool. This applies to children over the age of 2 who can remove the face covering on their own, if needed. Cloth face coverings should not be worn by anyone in the water because if they get wet, it can be difficult to breathe.
  • Do not share personal items such as towels, goggles, face masks, pool noodles, kickboards, and snorkels. These items should also be disinfected after each use.
  • Disinfect chairs, pool equipment, ladders, and handrails.
  • People who have symptoms or have tested positive for COVID-19 – or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 in the last 14 days – should stay home and not go swimming.
  • Avoid crowded swim areas, beaches, pools, water playgrounds, and hot tubs where you cannot stay six feet away from others.

It’s also a good idea to teach your children healthy swimming habits that should be practiced all the time. Never swim if you have diarrhea, don’t swallow pool water, and practice good hygiene. Take your children on frequent bathroom breaks.

If you have a backyard pool, make sure to test the water regularly to ensure that it’s balanced properly and has enough free chlorine. You can use pool test strips or take a water sample to a pool supply store. Many pool supply stores will test your water for free.

Remember, water safety remains a top priority. Drowning is the leading cause of injury-related death in U.S. children ages 1 to 4, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Children should begin swim lessons around their first birthday.

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About CHKD Medical Group

About CHKD Medical  Group Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters has been the region’s most trusted name in pediatric care for more than 50 years. As members of CHKD Health System, our pediatricians work closely with CHKD’s full range of pediatric specialists and surgeons. They also share a commitment to quality, excellence and child-centered care. With 18 practices in 29 locations throughout the region, a CHKD pediatrician is never far.