Amanda Beard

Amanda Beard

Associated Press 2010

Olympic medal-winning swimmer and Tucson resident Amanda Beard is partnering with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention on a healthy swimming campaign.

While swimming has health benefits, it can also be risky in pools that have been contaminated with illness-causing germs. A 2012 CDC study found evidence of fecal contamination in 59 percent of the pools tested.

If a swimmer brings feces into the pool by not showering beforehand, or has diarrhea, the pool could easily be contaminated with germs that cause illness. Those germs spread when other swimmers swallow the contaminated water.

Beard is also promoting safety steps to prevent drowning, such as giving children swimming lessons at a young age.

"Kids learn to swim for so many different reasons, but most importantly for safety," she said in a news statement.

Healthy Swimming Recommendations:

• Keep feces and other contaminants out of the water.

• Do not swim when you have diarrhea.

• Shower with soap before you start swimming.

•  Take bathroom breaks every 60 minutes.

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

•  Check the free chlorine level and pH before getting into the water.

•  Pools: Proper free chlorine (1–3 mg/L or parts per million [ppm]) and pH (7.2–7.8) levels maximize germ-killing power.

• Most superstores, hardware stores, and pool-supply stores sell pool test strips.

•Do not swallow the water you swim in.

•Take children on bathroom breaks every 60 minutes or check diapers every 30–60 minutes.

• Change diapers in the bathroom or diaper-changing area and not at poolside where germs can rinse into the water.

• Always supervise children when they are in or around water.

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