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National Water Safety Month

Orange County Health: Take precautions to prevent drowning and skin damage


During National Water Safety Month, the Florida Department of Health in Orange County encourages residents to participate in water and sun safety and take precautions to prevent drownings and skin damage.

With pools, lakes, and other surrounding bodies of water in Florida, water safety is key to preventing drownings. Children ages 1-4 are more likely to drown in a home swimming pool than children ages 5-19, who are more likely to drown in natural bodies of water. Whether you are a parent or a community group member, everyone plays a role in drowning prevention. The goal is to keep water activities fun and safe for all as we move into the summer months. Here are a few water safety tips provided by WaterSmartFL. 

 Tips on Water Safety:

  • Supervision: Learn to prioritize water safety, ensure that your family members are knowledgeable around the water, and assign a “water watcher” by having a responsible adult around to actively watch when a child or adult is in or around the water.
  • Barriers: A child should never enter the pool area unaccompanied. Barriers, including gates, fences, walls, doors, and windows, are recommended to assist and protect those at risk.
  • Emergency Preparedness: In an emergency, it is critical to have a phone nearby to call 911 if needed. Know your location and know what type of emergency you are calling about. CPR and First Aid are also important to know.

Beach and Lake Swimming:

Swimming in open water is much different than swimming in a pool, but most people are unaware of how different they are. Even the strongest swimmer can get into trouble swimming in open water. Here are some tips and other layers of protection when swimming at the beach or lake:

Swim It: Always swim with a buddy and when safety flags and signs give it the all-clear to do so!

Shore It: If you have a cut on your skin, your immune system is weakened, or you don’t have a buddy to swim with, stay on dry land.

Dodge It: If you encounter animals that live near or in the water, stay away. Also stay clear from red tides and algal blooms like blue-green algae. This can cause skin irritation, burning eyes and throat, and breathing irritations. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission posts the status of red tide locations, and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection monitors blue-green algae.

For more information, visit:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7Rp757hv88

Protect Your Skin:

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), skin cancer is the most common cancer in the U.S. Most skin cancers are caused by exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun, and we all know Florida has plenty of it. The best way to protect the skin is to cover it up with sunscreen, shade, and clothing. The Florida Department of Health (FDOH) recommends using sunscreen with a UVA/UVB SPF 15 or higher. Sunscreen is most effective when reapplied every two hours.

Taking breaks from the sun is also recommended. Step into the shade throughout the day. The sun’s rays are strongest between 10 am and 4 pm, and limiting sun exposure during this time is important.

Lastly, wear clothing that covers exposed skin. Wear clothing that is lightweight and loose-fitting that covers your arms and legs. Swim shirts are also advised as they block out 98 percent of the sun’s harmful rays. The CDC also recommends wearing a hat with a wide brim to shade your face, head, ears, and neck and wearing sunglasses that wrap around and block both UVA and UVB rays.

For more information on National Water Safety Month, visit https://www.floridahealth.gov/programs-and-services/prevention/drowning-prevention/index.html, www.watersmartfl.com,https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/index.htm, and https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/basic_info/sun-safety.htm, https://nwsm.phta.org/.

About the Florida Department of Health

The department works to protect, promote, and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county, and community efforts. For more information about the Florida Department of Health, please visit www.FloridaHealth.gov.

Florida Department of Health in Orange County, Orange County, Water Safety, National Water Safety Month