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Q. Is it safe to swallow pool or beach water?

A. In general, yes. A small amount of water—whether it’s salt water or water from the pool—is not likely to cause any issues. Still, I know parents worry about the chlorine and chemicals that keep bacteria out of the pool—and the bacteria that’s naturally in ocean or lake water. But, assuming your son or daughter isn’t swallowing more than a cup or two of water, the worst health effect he or she will likely experience is diarrhea—which should resolve on its own without any intervention. To help prevent water-related injuries: Whether she’s in the pool, lake, or ocean, always keep a close eye on her when she’s swimming.

Lawrence D. Rosen, M.D., is the founder of the Whole Child Center in Oradell, New Jersey, one of the first green, integrative primary care practices in the U.S.

Have a question for Dr. Rosen? 
E-mail him at drrosen@kiwimagonline.com.

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