WASHINGTON — When you’re swimming in the pool, it’s a good idea to wear protective gear, according to a report from the National Institutes of Health.
The agency said the gloves and face masks are crucial for protecting the skin.
But it cautioned that they shouldn’t be required to wear them all the time.
For example, in warm weather, you might want to wear a hat or goggles that cover your mouth, nose and eyes.
For the coldest months of winter, wear goggles that are long enough to cover your entire face.
For those who don’t wear protective equipment, you may need to wear masking to protect your eyes.
And for those who do wear goggles, wear them at least as long as your head is above the water.
It’s a matter of personal preference, said Mark Siegel, a former U.S. Navy swimmer who is now an independent swimming instructor in the Washington area.
“There are some people who can’t swim,” Siegel said.
“Some people just want to go out and have a little fun and some people just can’t handle the cold.”
Siegel and his partner, who is also an instructor, are not recommending swimming goggles for everyone.
But if you can’t stand the cold, it is worth it to wear one, he said.
He also said that people should wear gloves while swimming.
“It’s a little bit of a gray area,” Sussle said.
But he cautioned that you should always wear a mask or goggles for those at higher elevations who are more likely to have to deal with the cold.
If you can, wear a face mask for those with cold-related illnesses, such as a heart condition, Siegel noted.
“A mask can keep you from breathing in,” he said, and a face cover can keep from getting your eyes wet.
In some areas, Sussel said, “it’s a no-brainer” to wear goggles and a mask.
But you should never assume that goggles and masks are mandatory for all types of swimmers, he added.
For instance, there are no swimming pools in most cities, and most people don’t know how to swim, so goggles and face coverings aren’t required for the average swimmer, he noted.
And some cities don’t allow goggles or masks for those under the age of 21.
“So it’s something to be aware of and to try to think about, especially if you’re going to be in a cold environment,” Sissler said.
While the National Institute of Standards and Technology recommends that you wear a “face shield” for those 18 years of age or older, that’s not always the case, Sinkesaid.
“In some cases, they may be required because of other circumstances, like someone getting a stroke or being hit by a car,” he explained.
He added that some pools don’t require goggles at all, and you should consider your local pool’s policy when deciding how much to wear.
“That’s always a decision to make, because it depends on the particular pool and what your comfort level is,” Sinksaid said.