Safe Swimming

As you're keeping it cool by the pool or within reach of the beach this summer, keep these water-related risks in mind:

Swimmer's Ear - Acute otitis externa, a painful infection of the ear canal that usually results from swimming in pools, lakes or ponds, affects one in every 100 to 250 Americans each year. In April, an expert panel released the first guidelines for treatment, which were published in the journal Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery. The guidelines recommend antibiotic ear drops, rather than oral antibiotics, because they are safe, effective and do not promote growth of resistant bacteria.

Water-Borne Illness - To prevent spread of E. coli and other germs that can cause diarrhea, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises parents of young children to take them on bathroom breaks or check diapers often when at a pool, lake or other body of water. Avoid changing diapers poolside, and wash children thoroughly before returning to swim.

Drowning - Kids should be supervised by an adult - and this means direct visual contact any time they are in or around water. Flotation devices and "water wings" are no substitute. Designate a grown-up to keep watch, and supervise in shifts to stay alert.

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