To make the best use of their long summer holidays children in huge numbers join swimming classes. Swimming is the best exercise to enhance physical strength of your child. But failing to follow certain precautions, in terms of hygiene, could get your child infectious diseases.
Three-year-old Nidhi joined swimming classes like many other kids of her age. After a couple of sessions she got severe stomach infection, called as acute bacillary dysentery. She started suffering from loose motions with blood in her stool. Her parents, who were not aware about the precautions which need to be taken, were worried about their daughter.
“For certain practices rules are needed to be followed and swimming is one of it. In Nidhi’s case, she had swallowed chlorinated water of swimming pool. Children are anyways prone to infection very fast. This could become life threatening if required care is not taken,” said Dr Mukesh Sanklecha, Consulting Pediatrician, Bombay hospital.
Dr Mona Gajre, Pediatrician at Lokmanya Tilak Municipal General (Sion) hospital, said, “Swimming is an excellent activity however, with the recent mushrooming of ‘summer camps’ it can do more harm than good. We see huge numbers of children packed in these so-called ‘camps’. Due to back-to-back camp schedules, excess chlorination of pool water is done which may lead to skin irritation, burning and redness of eyes among other problems.”
In another case, two-year-old Aarav, in his very first session of swimming classes caused red eyes. Seeing such cases, Dr Kavita Gohil, Pediatrician, Zen Hospital advised, “Children who are above the age of four should be taken for swimming. Before starting swimming sessions, one should keep a note of the frequency of exposure to water, emotional maturity, physical limitations and other health concerns related to swimming.”
Sharing some details about eye and ear infection due to chemical contained water Gohil said, “Ear and eye irritation is the increase in redness of outer ear, itching sensation or swollen ear canal.”
Most of the swimming pools are highly chlorinated to keep the water clean. But there is no surety of this water that it won’t harm kids.
“During holiday seasons these pools are overcrowded, there is no standard of hygiene and cleanliness while using pool. It’s obvious that children are prone to respiratory infection, eye burn, ear infection, or skin infection. They may also get infected from waterborne diseases,” said Dr Mukesh Agarwal, Head of Pediatrics department at King Edward Memorial (KEM)Hospital and Seth GS Medical College.
“We can’t really guarantee about the quality of water. Apart from strong presence of chemicals in the pool, there are children who are suffering from skin disease, diarrhea. Parents should avoid taking them to swimming. Because it may affect other kids too,” added Agarwal.