With the upcoming Fourth of July weekend approaching, the Minnesota Department of Health has a few basic precautions that can help keep families healthy and happy at the pool and beach.

Despite the rain and flooding that has affected much of the state, the Fourth of July holiday is expected to once again be a busy time for Minnesota’s beaches and pools. 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.

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 tips:

  1. Don’t swallow pool or lake water.
  2. Practice good hygiene. Shower with soap before swimming.
  3. Wash your hands thoroughly after using the toilet or changing diapers.
  4. Don’t swim when you have diarrhea.
  5. Take children on bathroom breaks or change diapers often.
  6. Change diapers in a bathroom, not at poolside or beachside.

“Chlorinated water is not a guarantee against being exposed to germs in the water,” said Trisha Robinson, a Minnesota Department of Health epidemiologist specializing in waterborne diseases. “Between 2004 and 2013, there were 44 recreational waterborne outbreaks in Minnesota, resulting in nearly 700 illnesses. Seventy-five percent of the outbreaks occurred in treated waters. The best protective measure is for everyone to do their part to keep the germs out.”

To find out more about healthy swimming visit the CDC Swimming Web Page