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A-Z of Public Health Topics

Healthy swimming

Swimming is a popular low impact activity, great for improving general health and wellbeing. While swimming is a fun way to stay fit and active, sometimes germs can contaminate the pool water, which can make people sick.

It is important to remember that when you’re swimming, you share the pool with others. Healthy swimming practices are important to keep pool water clean and to stop the spread of germs.

You can help keep the pool clean by following the five healthy swimming steps:

  1. do not swim if you have had diarrhoea in the past 14 days
  2. shower and wash with soap, especially your bottom, before swimming
  3. wash your hands with soap after going to the toilet or changing a nappy
  4. change nappies in nappy change areas only
  5. avoid swallowing pool water.
  • always keep an eye on your children
  • take children on toilet breaks every hour and check nappies every 30-60 minutes
  • do not change nappies by the poolside
  • give non-toilet trained children tight-fitting waterproof nappies
  • report any faecal accidents to swimming pool staff.

Healthy swimming resources are available for download and/or order from the Victorian Department of Health: click here to access.

Aquatic facilities can order copies of the healthy swimming resources using the online form.

Increase in crypto infection associated with aquatic facilities

Cryptosporidium (crypto) is a type of gastroenteritis (gastro) caused by the parasite Cryptosporidium. Crypto infections and outbreaks are often linked to swimming pools and aquatic facilities, as the germ is not easily killed by chlorine. An increase in crypto infections was seen across Victoria over the 2023-24 summer period and into autumn. While most people who get crypto have mild gastro symptoms, it can cause serious prolonged illness, especially in children and the elderly.

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