6 Common Swimming Ailments and What to Do to Prevent and Treat Them

Sometimes, spending a lot of time swimming in pools and lakes can lead to minor conditions including dry skin and hair, swimmer’s ear, red eyes, cramps and diarrhea. Kids benefit greatly from swimming, so you want them to have a GOLDEN experience every time. Your job is to make sure these pesky ailments don’t keep your little swimmer on dry land! Read on to learn what you can do to prevent and treat common swimming conditions.

1. Dry Skin and Rashes

You may think that being immersed in water would make your skin even more filled with moisture, but sometimes that’s not the case. One of the reasons people may experience dry skin after swimming is from not properly drying off when exiting the water. Always rinse off with warm or even cool water — never hot water, which contributes to dry skin. Then, be sure to wrap up your little one in their towel and gently pat him or her dry all over — even if it’s warm out. Letting the air dry those water droplets off skin leads to that dryness. Use a hydrating lotion (be sure it doesn’t include alcohol, which is a drying agent that many perfumed lotions have) and apply it while skin is still damp.

2. Swimmer’s Ear

That pain and itchiness in the ear, commonly called swimmer’s ear, is brought on by many factors, including high bacteria counts in bodies of water like lakes and rivers (so your little one should be fine swimming at Goldfish Swim School). The best way to prevent it is to make sure to thoroughly dry your ears when getting out of the water — but NOT by using cotton swabs. Instead, tilt your child’s head to the side and gently tug at the earlobe, then switch sides.

While earplugs are generally not necessary, especially in a pool, talk to your child’s pediatrician if you have concerns. (Find out more answers about swimming with tubes in the ears and other ear-related questions here.)

3. Brittle Hair

Constant swimming can seem to attribute to dry, brittle hair by stripping hair of its natural oils, but there are simple steps you can take to restore moisture. To protect hair, you can always have your child don a swimming cap. If that’s not feasible, or if hair still gets brittle, you can repair hair by doing conditioning treatments. Always rinse hair when getting out of the pool. As soon as you can, wash hair, then apply a conditioner or special leave-in conditioner. Check for products without alcohol, which dries hair further (or look into using coconut oil, argan oil, etc. to add moisture). And when towel drying hair, do NOT rub hair vigorously. Instead, wrap hair in a towel, gently squeeze excess water out and then pat dry the rest.

4. Red Eyes

After swimming in a pool, you may think the chlorine has contributed to those red eyes — but recent research suggest it’s actually urine combining with pool chemicals that lead to red eyes. So, to prevent that irritation, have your little one wear goggles (and make sure to go to the bathroom before going in the water, and take restroom breaks every hour). Once you get out of the water, flush red eyes with a saline rinse or fresh water. For little ones, let the shower run down their face over their eyes or even have them open their eyes in a sink of cool water.

5. Cramps

Swimmers may experience cramps, generally in sides, legs or feet. Make sure you and your swimmers are properly hydrated: Fill everyone up with plenty of water before going in the water to prevent dehydration that can lead to muscle cramps. In addition, bananas have been known to help by keeping those potassium levels up to help muscles.

6. E. coli / Diarrhea

One of the more common ailments from swimming in a lake stems from all the bacteria and human fluids and germs mingling together — so, the biggest way to prevent diarrhea from E. coli is don’t swallow water. In addition, make sure you’re not bringing additional bacteria into the water by showering before swimming, washing hands after using the restroom (and changing diapers!) and avoiding swimming if already sick with diarrhea.

Learn to Swim with Goldfish Swim School

Celebrate those extraordinary results your child will get when they start swimming lessons at Goldfish Swim School! With locations throughout the country, find a location near you and stop by to see our WOW! customer service (and see how our instructors use integrity, trust and compassion with all students) when you sign up. Our pools are always set at a balmy 90 degrees, and we offer plenty of other cool things that make learning to swim fun!

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