|Dr. Emily Blumberg|
Why is it important for lung transplant recipients to learn about safe swimming?We know that significant infections can result from water exposure, so it’s critical for lung transplant recipients to understand:
- Where it is safe to swim
- Where it is not safe to swim
- When it is not safe to swim
Where is it safe for lung transplant recipients to swim?It’s safe for lung transplant patients to swim in chlorinated pools. In most cases, the ocean is also okay, but patients should avoid swimming in the Chesapeake because the presence of some dangerous bacteria has been found there in recent years.
If lung transplant patients experience any kind of abrasion while in the ocean, the abrasion should be thoroughly cleaned with soap and an uncontaminated water source -- not the water they are swimming in -- to minimize the risk of infection.
Where is it unsafe for lung transplant recipients to go swimming?Fresh-water swimming represents a high risk for infection. So it’s not safe for lung transplant recipients to swim in fresh water of any kind, which includes ponds, lakes, creeks, rivers and streams. Since it’s often part of vacation recreation, it’s probably helpful to mention that, because of several infection risks, hot tubs should also be avoided.
When is it unsafe for lung transplant recipients to go swimming?If you are a lung transplant recipient with an open wound of any kind, it is not safe to swim at all. In addition, swimming should be avoided if you are being treated for rejection.
Remember, if you have questions about safe swimming, contact your transplant coordinator to verify that swimming is safe option for you before you go.