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by Daniel Paulling

December 18, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic, tattoos, and backyard pools all made the list

With 2020 ending soon, we collected our most-read articles from the year in one place, so you have easy access to some of the best content that we produced over the past 12 months.

10. When Can I Swim Again During Coronavirus?

Over the past several weeks, most of us have been unable to swim the way we’re used to. Pools across the country have been shuttered for over a month, and in many locations, beaches and open water venues are also closed or too cold to afford a comfortable workout.

This leaves many Masters swimmers wondering: When will we be able to swim again?

The short answer is: We just don’t know yet. And that uncertainty can be really hard to grapple with. But this is a complex situation with a lot of moving parts. There are several critical components that will dictate when we can safely get back to business as usual in the pool and open water.

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9. Want to Swim? Try These Backyard Above-Ground Swimming Pool Ideas

Helene Nehrebecki, 40, a Davis Aquatic Masters member, last trained with her club on March 16, the day before her facility closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Then the classes she was teaching at American River College were moved online, and her 7-year-old daughter was suddenly home and required home-schooling.

Nehrebecki missed her training and craved having her water-based outlet to cope with stress. After three weeks on land, she searched online and found an above-ground pool online that could be delivered. The pool and filtration system only cost $150. The round 12-foot-long, 30-inch-deep Intex pool, Nehrebecki says, took an hour to put together. She filled it and had it swim-ready in her backyard quickly.

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8. What the CDC’s Latest COVID-19 Guidelines Say About Going Back to the Pool

As summer begins, pandemic-related restrictions regarding the safe operation of swimming pools are beginning to ease. In some locations, this means pools are now getting the green light to open up. Welcome relief for many Masters swimmers to be sure, but there are a few things you should know before you go swimming at your pool.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidance on May 20 outlining recommended guidelines for reopening of pool facilities. These protocols aim to keep pool users safe and reduce the onward spread of the novel coronavirus. Follow the CDC’s guidelines to put the power of staying safe and healthy back into your own hands.

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7. Is It OK to Swim With an Open Wound?

Have you ever worried about picking up an unsavory bacterium from swimming with an open wound?

If you’re swimming in a pool, and it’s just a small cut, such as a paper cut, don’t worry—you’re highly unlikely to develop anything problematic.

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6. What's a Safe Pool Temperature?

According to the World Health Organization, water temperatures ranging from 78 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit are generally comfortable and safe for those engaging in moderate physical activity in a pool.

But health concerns come in with either extreme—too hot or too cold—and when it comes to health concerns related to pool temperature, risk is related to personal health and the type of activity.

It's recommended that all people approach extreme water temperatures, in both pool and open water, with caution.

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5. Coronavirus and Swimming: What You Need to Know (Updated July 2020)

When the World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus outbreak a pandemic in mid-March, swimming stopped for a lot of us. Pools around the country closed, and as of late July, only some have reopened, and many are operating in a much-reduced capacity. New protocols have been instituted to help keep swimmers safe, and each facility is approaching its reopening plans a little differently, based on local conditions and regulations.

Over the past five months, we’ve learned a lot about this new disease and how it’s transmitted. Although there’s still a lot that isn’t clear about the coronavirus and the potentially deadly disease it causes, COVID-19 (also called SARS-CoV-2), we have learned a great deal about what to expect from infections and how to slow transmission.

With regards to swimming, here’s a summary of current public health advisories and scientific understanding of what you need to know. Awareness of these key aspects of the virus and how it moves can help you keep safe as pools around the country resume operations.

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4. How Soon Can I Swim After Getting Stitches?

It’s not uncommon for people to get stitches in their body at some point in their lifetime. Whether for flesh wounds during an accident or a planned incision through surgery, sutures are a temporary fix to a problem.

The question for swimmers is, can I swim with stitches or sutures? If so, then what do I need to know?

Catherine Hannan, a board-certified plastic surgeon who practices in Washington, D.C., and places and removes sutures every day, helps clarify when swimmers should be able to get back in the water.

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3. How Can I Avoid a Stuffy Nose, Runny Nose, or Sinusitis After Swimming?

If you find yourself with a runny nose after swimming, you’re not alone. One study found about 35 percent of swimmers reported temporary nasal congestion after swimming. The symptoms can start anywhere from immediately after getting out of the pool to a few hours later.

The bad news: If you’re highly sensitive, then swimming does appear to have a short-term negative effect and can create temporary sinusitis. The good news: The stuffy nose doesn’t seem to correlate with long-term problems on the whole, and there are some ways to help decrease the symptoms.

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2. How Long Should I Wait to Swim After Getting a Tattoo?

You just got some new ink and are wondering how long before you can jump back in the pool. How can you swim with a new tattoo? Even if you’re not supposed to get it wet, is there a way to waterproof a tattoo for swimming?

In a nutshell, the answer to how to swim with a new tattoo is: Don’t. It’s important to give your skin time to heal. Here’s why and what you can do if you absolutely have to swim.

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1. Coronavirus and Swimming: What You Need to Know

Many pools and gyms are closing in an attempt to stop the spread of COVID-19, a virus that has upended daily life for millions of people around the globe.

With lots of conflicting advice and misinformation floating around in cyberspace, we reached out to an expert, Roberta Lavin, a professor of medicine at the University of Tennessee’s College of Nursing, for guidance on how you can safely navigate these uncharted waters.

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  • Technique and Training