-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas
SATURDAY, July 26, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Pools can provide
much-needed relief from the summer heat, but kids can make
themselves sick if they swallow too much chlorinated water, experts
Amid the splashing and excitement, it's common for little ones
to get water in their mouth. Some kids may even take a drink from a
pool, despite warnings from their parents.
Although swallowing a small amount of pool water is harmless,
it's important for parents to realize that ingesting too much can
lead to chlorine poisoning or so-called recreational water illness,
according to Dr. Sampson Davis, an emergency room physician at
Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center in New Jersey. Kids can also
inhale water into their lungs, Davis added, which can lead to a
serious condition called secondary drowning.
Recreational water illnesses can also be serious. Pool water
contains chlorine -- a chemical used to help get rid of bacteria
such as E. coli and parasites. Chlorine may not eliminate all of
these germs, so if children swallow pool water they could become
sick, Davis said.
If parents and caregivers are aware of these risks, they can
take steps to prevent them from happening. By being aware, parents
can also recognize warning signs and seek immediate medical
attention, Davis added.
To help parents protect their children, Davis advised parents to
watch out for the following symptoms that could develop within a
few hours or up to 72 hours after swimming:
The first signs of trouble usually include:
As the hours pass, recreational water illness, chlorine
poisoning and secondary drowning become more distinct conditions
with more specific and severe symptoms, noted Davis.
Recreational water illness and chlorine poisoning may lead to
digestive distress, such as abdominal cramping and diarrhea. These
conditions may seem like a bad case of food poisoning or stomach
Chlorine poisoning may also cause symptoms in the nervous and
respiratory systems. Children may experience trouble with their
vision. Swelling and burning may also develop in their eyes,
throat, nose and ears.
Secondary drowning has a greater effect on the respiratory
system. Children will experience trouble breathing and have heavy,
wet-sounding, persistent coughs. They will also develop
uncontrollable shivering as well as hot and cold flashes.
Children who have any of these symptoms should be taken to an
emergency room immediately.
Davis offered the following tips for warding off trouble:
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more
swimming pool safety.
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