The Florida Department of Health (FDOH) encourages everyone to maximize the health benefits and fun of summertime spent in and around Florida’s waters: play it safe and keep it healthy.
Beach Swimming, Lake Swimming and Everywhere In-Between
Individuals should be cautious of any breaks in the skin before entering the water this summer. Stay on the beach and out of the water if you have fresh cuts or scrapes. In extremely rare cases, certain bacteria in the water can lead to infections through breaks in the skin.
Additionally, individuals who are immunocompromised, e.g. chronic liver disease, kidney disease, or weakened immune system, should wear proper foot protection to prevent cuts and injury caused by rocks and shells on the beach.
If you cut yourself while on the beach, wash it out with soap and warm water. If you notice redness to the site of an open cut or sore, or develop fever and feel ill, seek medical care immediately. Tell your care provider if and when you were in an open body of water.
Please see the FDOH  Swim it, Shore it, Dodge it’ Public Service Announcement for guidance on when to avoid getting in the water.
It’s obvious that swimming in open water is different than swimming in a pool but most people are not aware how vastly different swimming in open water is. Even the strongest swimmer can get in trouble swimming in open water. That’s why everyone-children, teens and adults-should never swim alone and always use the buddy system when swimming.
Parents know to supervise their small children, but older children-this includes teens-need to be watched, too. Children ages 1-4 are more likely to drown in home swimming pools and children ages 5-19 are more likely to drown in natural bodies of water. Someone watching from the shore who is aware of where swimmers are at all times is an important layer of protection.
Other measures can add layers of protection:
  • Attention to safety signs and flags can help swimmers avoid dangerous conditions and currents like rip tide- weather.gov/forecast delivers beach forecasts and current statements by ZIP code.
  • Open cuts or wounds should not be immersed in water; if there’s bacteria in the water, they can enter the body through a cut or wound. Water should not be swallowed as well.
  • A cut or wound that happens when swimming, wading or boating should be washed with clean, running water and soap, and covered with a clean, dry waterproof bandage.
Individuals should not enter the water if they have fresh cuts or scrapes. In extremely rare cases, certain bacteria in water can lead to Necrotizing fasciitis or severe infections with Vibrio vulnificus. Additionally, individuals who are immunocompromised, e.g. chronic liver disease, kidney disease, or weakened immune system, should wear proper foot protection to prevent cuts and injury caused by rocks and shells on the beach. Please see the FDOH ‘Swim it, Shore it, Dodge it‘ Public Service Announcement for guidance on when to avoid getting in the water.