On a hot summer day, very little is quite as appealing as your local swimming pool.
Swimming is the most popular recreational activity for children and teens between the ages of 7 and 17. In the United States, around 91 million people over 16 swim in oceans, lakes and rivers each year, according to the CDC.
Getting in the water contains many benefits including exercise, relaxation and of course, a fun way to cool down. But it's not without risk: About 1 in 8 pool inspections conducted reveal serious violations that threatened public health and safety, found a CDC report.
"Obviously, brain injury by drowning is our utmost concern," said Dr. Julie Gilchrist, a pediatrician and medical epidemiologist at the CDC Injury Center. An average of 3,800 people die from drowning incidents and 5,800 people suffer from devastating brain injuries, such as memory problems, learning disabilities, or even lapsing into a vegetative state. "It's so preventable and unfortunately, hospital care doesn't alter the outcome. There's not a lot we're able to do for brain injury. That's why prevention is so so important."
Gilchrist recommends early swimming lessons so that children and adults alike have this important skill. Additionally, for children, supervision in all swim areas is essential. And, when a pool is not in use, make sure there are barriers to access: gates around pools, locks on doors and even alarms.
For adults, drownings are much more common in natural bodies of water rather than pools. And men are far more likely to drown than women. In fact, 80 percent of all drowning deaths occur in boys and men. This is likely because they're more apt to take on risky activities, according to Gilchrist, and are also far more likely to swim under the influence of alcohol as well as overestimate their swimming endurance and abilities.
Aside from drowning, there are a number of health complaints that can result in a day spent in the emergency room, rather than the water -- and misconceptions surrounding what causes them. To make sure your summer swim experience is nothing but good and good for you, we've compiled answers to some other common questions. Take a look at them below and then proceed to make a splash.