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Healthier swimming tips

Summer is in full swing in Phoenix and pools are filled with children and families. Here are some healthy swimming tips to consider for a happy and fun season.

Always swim supervised. Pick a buddy to swim with, and if your children are in the pool, have a responsible, CPR​-trained adult watch them at all times. Keep a phone nearby, but only use it for emergencies.

VGB cover
The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act went into effect on Dec. 19, 2008, and was then modified on July 27, 2011. According to Pool Safely, the act states that if a pool has a single main drain or suction outlet, then the pool operator must install an anti-entrapment device or equipment such as an automatic pump shut-off, gravity drainage system, safety vacuum release or a suction-limiting vent system. You only need to install an anti-entrapment device if you want to, as all residential pools built before the act went into effect aren't required by law to comply.

If you have any questions, contact your local Phoenix pool remodeling service and inquire about VGB covers.

If you don't want to add chlorine regularly or keep hazardous chemicals around the shed or garage, consider installing a salt system in your pool.

A salt system uses an electronic plate and salt – added by the owner – to create chlorine, rather than adding the raw chemical. Healthy Pools states that salt water feels silky because of the sodium. These types of pools reduce skin and eye irritation because the chlorine isn't as harsh. They still require chemicals and regular pH level testing, but salt is less expensive than chlorine and only needs to be added every six months.

A skimmer and filter help clean your water of visual debris, but you must add chemicals to prevent recreational waterborne illnesses.

Recreational water illnesses
RWIs are common in pools. Chlorine and other disinfectants don't kill bacteria immediately, so pool owners must always take proper precautions in order to prevent the spread of RWIs.

Shower before you swim and wash your hands after leaving the bathroom. Also, don't swim if you're sick in any way.

To prevent RWIs, you should always check chlorine and pH levels before you enter the water. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, chlorine levels should be at one to three parts per million. pH levels should be between 7.2 and 7.8, so purchase a testing kit and rely on your Phoenix pool service.

Swimmer's ear
This is an infection in the outer ear canal. It can be identified by pain and discomfort in a swimmer of any age. The CDC states that this infection causes an estimated 2.4 million health care visits a year.

Dry your ears every time you exit the pool. Don't stick a towel or cotton-swab into your ear after swimming, as this may cause bacteria to enter your ear further. Instead, dry around your ears and tilt your head side to side while pulling your earlobe down. If there's still water in there, try using a hair dryer set to the lowest heat and fan speed.

If you still develop swimmer's ear, consult a physician immediately and consider using ear plugs for future swims.