With summer already here and the temperatures rising, millions of Americans head to public swimming pools to cool down, relax, and swim.
However, though pool time has its advantages, a lot of the public swimming pools are full of germs and can lead to health problems if not properly treated and if we fail to behave in the right way when at the pool.
So, before you head to the pool for the weekend, find out what the water could be hiding and also, learn how to best keep you and your family safe…
6 Terrible Facts about Public Swimming Pools
- 1 from 5 adults pee in swimming pools
Though you may think we outgrow this habit as we become older, many adults confirmed they relieve themselves when swimming in pools. According to a 2012 survey done by the Water Quality & Health Council, 1 in 5 adults in the US urinate in pools.
Regardless of how easy and convenient this habit may seem, swimmers in pools should avoid doing this because it poses numerous health risks, for both the children and the adults in the pool. Frequent bathroom breaks are the key to stopping this common, yet harmful habit.
- There may be poop too
Unfortunately, a report from the CDC showed that 1 in 8 public pools, hot tubs, and water playgrounds were closed due to health and safety violations, including very dirty water.
The major contaminator was feces that rinses off children or people who go swimming while they’re having diarrhea. This happens through direct release of diarrhea feces or as much as 10 grams of feces from child’s perianal surface goes into the water, the report also found.
Experts also emphasize that swim diapers are not entirely preventing the urine, feces or other pathogens to contaminate the water so they need to be regularly checked and replaced with new ones if needed.
- A lot of people enter the pool without bathing
According to the 2012 report, almost 70 percent of individuals going into the pool don’t shower before. This only adds up to the already present germs in the water.
This being said, it’s vital to note that swimming isn’t a replacement for showering and a lot of people fail to realize that pools aren’t a communal bathtub. So, remember to take a shower prior to going into the pool so that you preserve your health and that of the other swimmers.
- Odd chemical odor
A survey by Water Quality and Health Council discovered that ¾ of Americans think that the strong, chemical-like smell from public pools is a sign of excessive chlorine in the water.
Unfortunately, this means the exact opposite- the absence of chlorine. And, when combined with the feces, sweat, urine, and bacteria from different bodies, chloramines, types of irritants, are produced and release this unpleasant and strong smell. They use up all the chlorine so there is less of it to destroy germs.
- Your eyes aren’t red because of chlorine
A lot of people associate red eyes at the pool with the chlorine; however, red eyes after swimming in pools may also be a result of the irritation from the bodily fluids in the water, including the sweat, urine, and feces! Yikes!
- There are chlorine-resistant bacteria
Although chlorine is put in pool waters to destroy illness-causing germs if ingested, this chemical needs time to work. Though it removes most germs quickly, some germs, for short period of time, can still live in treated waters for a couple of days.
How to Stay Healthy at a Swimming Pool?
- Never go into the pool if you have diarrhea
- Always shower prior to entering the pool
- If you have small children, check their diapers
- Parents should take their children to bathroom breaks every hour
- Opt for a test strip that can help you find the pH and chlorine concentration levels in the pool (check CDC’s website for the recommendations)