Healthy and Safe Swimming Week 2017: Diarrhea and Swimming Don't Mix!

As the summer swim season approaches, adults and children will be flocking to local pools for fun in the sun. Not only is swimming a great way to have fun with family and friends, it's also a fun form of physical activity. Just a few hours of water-based physical activity per week can have health benefits for everyone.

However, swimming, like any form of physical activity, is not risk-free. While sunburn and injuries might be the most well-known health risks associated with swimming, diarrhea is another culprit-and outbreaks of diarrheal illness linked to swimming are on the rise. That's why the theme of this year's Healthy and Safe Swimming Week (May 22-28, 2017) is "Diarrhea and Swimming Don't Mix."

It is important to stay out of the water if you have diarrhea. Just one diarrheal incident in the water can release enough germs to make someone who swallows a mouthful of the water sick with diarrhea for up to several weeks.

Many people think chlorine will kill germs in the water instantly, but some germs can survive days in properly chlorinated pools. A diarrhea-causing germ called Cryptosporidium (or Crypto) can survive for more than one week in a properly chlorinated pool. Crypto is the leading cause of disease outbreaks linked to swimming.

We each play a role in preventing illnesses, caused by germs in the water we share and swim in, and injuries, such as drowning or those caused by mishandling pool chemicals. Below are some important steps to take to help keep your swimming experience healthy and safe!

Prevent illnesses caused by germs in the places we swim:
In 2011-2012, almost 100 illness outbreaks were linked to swimming. Chlorine and other disinfectants kill most germs within minutes, but some can survive for days. Protect yourself and your family from illness by following these steps:

  • Stay out of the water if you have diarrhea.
  • Shower before you get in the water.
  • Don't pee or poop in the water.
  • Don't swallow the water.
  • Take a break out of the water every hour. This provides time to take kids on bathroom breaks, check and change diapers in a bathroom or diaper changing area, reapply sunscreen, and drink plenty of fluids.

Prevent drowning:
Drowning is the leading cause of injury death for children 1-4 years old. Keep swimmers safe by:

  • Making sure everyone knows how to swim.
  • Using life jackets appropriately.
  • Providing continuous, attentive supervision close to swimmers.
  • Knowing CPR.
  • Installing and maintaining appropriate pool barriers.
  • Using locks/alarms for windows and doors.

Prevent injuries caused by mishandling pool chemicals:
Each year, mishandling of pool chemicals leads to 3,000-5,000 visits to emergency departments across the U.S. If you are a pool operator or own your own pool:

  • Read and follow directions on product labels.
  • Wear appropriate safety equipment as directed when handling pool chemicals.
  • Secure pool chemicals to protect people and animals.
  • Add chemicals poolside only when directed by product labels and when no one is in the water.
  • Never mix different pool chemicals with each other, especially chlorine products with acid.
  • Pre-dissolve pool chemicals only when directed by product labels. Add pool chemicals to water, never water to pool chemicals.

For more information, please visit the CDC's Healthy Swimming and Recreational Water website at

-From the Barry-Eaton District Health Department

Article posted on May 25th 2017. - Article Permalink

ERMC nurse honored with DAISY Award

ERMC Chief Operating Officer Kristine Allen, RN, MSN, MHA (left) with DAISY Award recipient Karen Cole, RN (right).

Karen Cole, registered nurse (RN) at Eaton Rapids Medical Center (ERMC), received the DAISY Award for nursing excellence at a ceremony held at the hospital on May 10, 2017 during National Nurses Week. Cole has 39 years of service at ERMC and was nominated by three of her coworkers. She has worked in many departments throughout the years and currently cares for patients in the ERMC Medical/Surgical Unit. Cole has been a member of the hospital Auxiliary, an organization that provides volunteer and financial support to the hospital, since 1990.

One nomination states, "Karen has devoted her entire career to healthcare. She is the most dedicated employee I have ever known. She has worked all shifts at various times in varying departments. Karen has volunteered extensively for Eaton Rapids Medical Center, helping out with parade floats and local hospital-sponsored events, taking blood pressures at the Senior Center, and even maintaining the flower beds on the hospital grounds. She is happy and optimistic and sets a wonderful example for fellow employees. She has brought calm and peace to many situations and continues to do so regularly. Karen upholds the standards of excellence in nursing and continues to be an extraordinary advocate for patients and their families."

Another nomination adds, "Karen has a very special way with patients and families. She connects with patients on so many levels with a genuine sense of compassion and a refreshing sense of humor. She is knowledgeable and helpful to all staff without being condescending. Karen functions well with her team and she is a valuable resource for me."

ERMC joins healthcare facilities all over the world in participating in this recognition program that rewards and celebrates the extraordinary clinical skill and compassionate care given by nurses every day. Cole was presented with a certificate, daisies, a DAISY Award pin and a hand-carved stone sculpture entitled "A Healer's Touch."

Janet Silvestri, Northeast Regional Program Director for the DAISY Foundation, traveled to Eaton Rapids to attend the ceremony and honor Cole. The DAISY Foundation was established in 1999 by the family of J. Patrick Barnes, who died of complications of the auto-immune disease Idiopathic Thrombocytopenia Purpura (ITP) at the age of 33. DAISY is an acronym for diseases attacking the immune system. During Pat's eight-week hospitalization, his family was awestruck by the care and compassion his nurses provided-not only to Pat-but to everyone in his family. One of the goals they set in creating a Foundation in Pat's memory was to recognize extraordinary nurses everywhere who make an enormous difference in the lives of so many people by the work they do every day.

To nominate a nurse for this annual award, fill out a nomination form in the main lobby of the Medical Center, located at 1500 South Main Street in Eaton Rapids.

Article posted on May 18th 2017. - Article Permalink

May is Melanoma / Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month!

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is the main cause of skin cancer. UV damage can also cause wrinkles, blotches or spots on your skin. The good news is that skin cancer can be prevented, and it can almost always be cured when it's found and treated early!

The Barry-Eaton District Health Department is proud to participate in Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month! During the month of May, join us in taking action to prevent skin cancer and reduce the risk of UV damage by taking these simple steps today to protect your skin:

  • Stay out of the sun as much as possible between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Use sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher. Put on sunscreen every 2 hours and after you swim or sweat.
  • Cover up with long sleeves and a hat.
  • Check your skin regularly for changes.

For more information on skin cancer prevention strategies, visit or Be sure to follow us on Facebook at and stay tuned for a series of webinars offering child care centers, recreational facilities and outdoor workers easy-to-implement skin cancer prevention tactics!

-From the Barry-Eaton District Health Department

Article posted on May 17th 2017. - Article Permalink

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