There's a good chance your family has plans to enjoy some time by the pool this summer, at a water park or on the lake. Water safety is important every time you go for a swim, even if it's just to cool off. Healthspirations asked Jerry Tolbert, MD, a family medicine physician with The Christ Hospital Physicians, for tips on how to stay safe in the water this Memorial Day weekend and all summer:
- Learn to swim, no matter your age. Knowing how to swim is one of the best ways to stay safe in or around water. Teach children how to swim as early as possible. If you don't swim or you're not a comfortable swimmer, always wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket when you're in or around a pool or open body of water.
- Swim in supervised areas. Always swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards, and never swim alone. Always stay within an arm's reach of swimming children. Don't participate in any distracting activities.
- Wear sunscreen. Keep your skin protected to prevent sunburn and skin cancer. Always apply a sunscreen that is at least 30 SPF about a half hour before going out into the sun. Reapply sunscreen every two hours.
- Avoid drinking alcohol. Alcohol impairs judgment, balance and coordination. It affects swimming and diving skills and reduces the body's ability to stay warm.
- Know how to respond to a water emergency. Learn how to perform CPR on adults and children, and update those skills regularly. If someone is missing—especially a child—check the water first. Seconds count in preventing death or disability. Know how and when to call 911.