Splish, Splash

It’s prime swimming season, and a dip in a cool pool is a refreshing way to get your exercise, spend time with the kids, or catch up with friends. But before you take the plunge, brush up on some basic precautions, for a safe swim every time.

Although chlorine is necessary for keeping bacteria out, the chemical compound can dry out skin, discolor hair, irritate eyes, and cause stomach upset. Before you go for a swim, put on a swim cap or wet your hair to decrease the amount of pool water you soak up, then shower off right after you’re done. Wear goggles — and keep your mouth closed — when your face is submerged.

Swimmer’s ear occurs when water traps infection-inducing bacteria. Using over-the-counter drops before and after swimming may prevent the condition, but if it sets in, you may need prescription drops or antibiotics.

Dive with caution. Make sure the pool is deep and large enough for a headlong dive. When in doubt, enter feet first.

Keep an eye on kids at all times and have them take frequent breaks to maintain body temperature and avoid fatigue. A child who knows how to swim is not automatically free from danger — make sure they know safe depths and use the right kind of flotation devices.

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