For Immediate Release
May 15, 2009

KDHE Office of Communications
communications@kdheks.gov, 785-296-0461

Recreational Water Illness Prevention Week is May 18-24

The week of May 18-24 has been designated as National Recreational Water Illness Prevention Week.  With many pools opening this month, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) encourages everyone to take steps to help prevent recreational water illnesses (RWIs).  RWIs are illnesses spread by swallowing, breathing in vapors, or having contact with contaminated water in swimming pools, water parks, spas, interactive fountains, lakes, rivers or oceans.

This year, the focus is on preventing pool chemical injuries.  Pool chemicals make the water where we swim safer by protecting us from germs; however, these same chemicals can also cause injuries if they are not properly handled.  This type of preventable injury leads to thousands of emergency room visits each year.  Pool operators can protect themselves and swimmers by taking these key steps:

Ensuring that you and your family have a healthy and safe summer is as easy as following the six ”PLEAs”:

Recreational water venues are important sites for exercise and leisure.  To make this summer a healthy swimming experience, KDHE and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urge swimmers to continue to enjoy swimming, but remember to follow the steps above to reduce the risk of recreational water illnesses.

KDHE, in collaboration with statewide partners, has a recreational water guidelines toolkit to assist public health professionals and communities with the safe and healthy operation of public swimming pools, spas and other man-made recreational water venues.  The toolkit can be found at:  www.kdheks.gov/beh/water_guidelines.htm.

For more information about Recreational Water Illness Prevention Week and Healthy Swimming from CDC, please visit www.cdc.gov/healthyswimming/