Healthy Swimming & Recreational Water Safety

Although swimming is a physical activity that offers numerous health benefits, pools and other recreational water venues are also places where germs can be spread and injuries can happen. Recreational water illnesses (RWIs) are caused by germs spread by swallowing, breathing in mists, or having contact with contaminated water in swimming pools, hot tubs/spas, water play areas, interactive fountains, lakes, rivers or oceans. Here are a few steps you can take to prevent RWIs:

  • Don't swim when you have diarrhea.
  • Shower with soap before you start swimming.
  • Take a rinse shower before you get back into the water.
  • Take bathroom breaks every 60 minutes.
  • Wash your hands after using the toilet or changing diapers.
  • Check the free chlorine level and pH before getting into the water.
  • Take children on bathroom breaks every 60 minutes or check diapers every 30–60 minutes.
  • More tips for preventing RWIs from the CDC. 

The Health Department also encourages people to learn about preventing recreational water injuries, such as drowning and slips, trips, and falls, that can occur in or around the water.

Water and Swimming Safety

 Learn more from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about Healthy Swimming & Recreational Water Topics. Topics include:

  • Pools, hot tubs
  • Oceans, lakes, rivers
  • Outbreak response toolkits
  • Resources & publications
  • Injury & skin cancer
  • Fact sheets for swimmers & pool operators

Public and Community Pools

The Fairfax County Health Department inspects hundreds of public and community pool facilities annually and issues permits.

For pool owners, managers, and operators:


Pool Safely: Put Simple Steps in Play Save a Child’s Life!

Contact Us

Public Counters:
Mon. Fri.
8 a.m. 4 p.m.  

  • 10777 Main Street, Fairfax, VA 22030
  • Main Phone: 703-246-2444
  • Fax: 703-653-9448
  • Send an Email

Important Links

Facebook icon Twitter icon
Join us on
Facebook and Twitter.

Contact Fairfax County: Phone, Email or Twitter | Main Address: 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, VA 22035
Technical Questions: Web Administrator

ADA Accessibility | Website Accessibility
Awards | FOIA | Mobile | Using this Site | Web Disclaimer & Privacy Policy | Get Adobe Reader
Official site of the County of Fairfax, Virginia, © Copyright 2015

Website Feedback Website Feedback    Globe with various flags representing Web site language translations   Language Translations

Return to Graphic Version