Spring is here and summer is fast approaching. Calendars are counting down the days until the pools open back up for the season. Unfortunately, the excitement that comes with the summer countdown causes most people to forget about the risks associated with visiting your local public swimming pool. Let’s take a look at what exactly these dangers are and how can we minimize or avoid them.
What’s in The Water
Most of us do not realize just how many things, besides chemicals, are found in public pool water. Here are some of the most commonly found things by agencies such as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- Coli – In 2012, the CDC completed a study that revealed that more than 50 percent of the pools they examined contained the bacteria responsible for E. Coli, which leads us to our next concern.
- Feces and Urine– The typical swimmer will add 0.14 grams of fecal material into the swimming pool. This happens within the first 20 minutes or so of entering. Also, one out of every five people surveyed admit to peeing in a public swimming pool.
- Cryptosporidium – Thanks to its armor-like shell, this parasite can safely survive up to 10 days in pools that are treated properly with chlorine. Crypto is the leading villain behind pool-related diarrheal illnesses annually.
- Recreational Water Illnesses (RWI) – RWIs are caused by numerous germs that are spread around by swallowing or drinking contaminated water. These RWIs can come from hot tubs, oceans, lakes, water parks, and of course, private and public swimming pools.
- Giardia – This microscopic parasite is similar to Crypto, in that it is protected by an outer shell. It is often found in or on contaminated water, food, or soil. Like Crypto, Giardia can survive in chlorinated water for extended periods of time. Water contamination is the most common method of transferring this parasite, specifically in public pools and during the summer months.
How to Protect Yourself and Others
They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and in this particular case, it is accurate. Taking steps to minimize the amount of contaminants you or your family bring into a public swimming pool can help reduce the risks of catching or spreading something. Here are a couple of simple, yet effective, tips to keep your neighborhood swimming pool, and family, safe this summer.
- Showering – Showing at the swimming pool prior to entering can help remove a large number of contaminants from your body and prevent them from reaching the pool. It is also paramount that everyone showers once they have finished swimming and are preparing to leave the pool for the day.
- Take Frequent Breaks – Every hour or so, everyone should leave the pool to shower, rehydrate and reapply sunblock. This minimizes the amount of germs and bacteria that are lingering on your body.
- Never Change Diapers Poolside – Changing a diaper near the pool allows the fecal matter and debris to be carried through the air, into the pool. This is why more public swimming pools have remodeled themselves to include changing stations and family locker rooms.
- Use A Cleaner or Sanitizer Regularly – When you are done swimming, remove your swimsuit and place them in a bag to transport them home. Never wear your wet clothing home as it allows prolonged exposure to the parasites and bacteria from the pool. Products like Clear Gear Sports Spray can be used on goggles, flip-flops or sandals, water-wings and virtually anything else you have taken with you into the water, to kill the germs, viruses, and bacteria.
Taking the time to make sure you and your family are safe when visiting public swimming pools is a lot easier than people think. By using proven cleaners and sanitizers, such as Clear Gear Sports Spray, and following the guidelines listed in the CDC’s Healthy Swimming Brochure, you and your family can have a great time cooling off at your local pool.
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