There are many great reasons to own a swimming pool, but an important one is the ability to control cleanliness and prevent illness. With public swimming pools, there dozens if not hundreds of people using it each day and there are many people who do not shower before entering the pool and who may be swimming while sick or ill and thus spreading germs. By owning a pool, you can also ensure it is properly maintained and has the correct chemical levels. It is actually very shocking what can be spread by public pools:
- Athlete’s Foot: Feet exposure in a public swimming facility can increase the risk of the highly contagious athlete’s foot. Swimmers who have acquired this disease can easily infect others with the pieces of fungi that fall from their feet if they do not wear sandals or pat their skin after they swim. Communal showers, swimming pools, and changing rooms are the three top places that athlete’s foot is spread.
- Bacteria (E. Coli): These bacteria are commonly associated with fecal matter and public pools have been found to show signs of it. While young children can often bring fecal matter into a pool, adults can also be to blame by not rinsing before entering the pool. A quick shower can significantly reduce the risk.
- RWI (Recreational Water Illnesses): RWIs are caused by germs that spread by swallowing contaminated water. Often times public pools do not keep chlorine at recommended levels essential to maintaining healthy pool water, which can prevent these germs from being killed. The most common RWI infections include: gastrointestinal, skin, ear, respiratory, eye, neurologic, wound, and diarrhoea. For pool owners, this can be prevented not only by proper chlorine levels, but also by ensuring those who swim in the pool are free from infection.
- Chlorine by-Product: When we enter the water, we add our sweat, lotion, and sunscreen to the soupy, invisible brew of chemicals and bacteria present in the pool water. Chlorine is intended to kill bacteria and germs in the water. But if you notice a strong odor of chlorine at a public pool, it’s actually not a good thing. It indicates a maintenance problem. A well-chlorinated pool should, in fact, have little odor. The problem is that all of the bodily fluids we bring into the pool react with existing organic matter and with the chlorine in the water causing toxic chlorine by-products. These have been linked to lung and skin irritation, allergies, asthma, and bladder and liver cancer.
- Giardia and Crypto: Cryptosporidium, or Crypto, is a parasite that causes the disease cryptosporidiosis. Crypto has become the leading cause of swimming pool-related outbreaks of diarrhoea illness. Giardia is a microscopic parasite that causes diarrhoea. While the parasite can be spread in different ways, water (drinking water and recreational water) is the most common method of transmission. If you swallow contaminated water, such as in a public swimming pool, you are at risk for getting a Giardia infection.
- Outbreaks are Becoming More Common: Outbreaks that result from swimming in public pools have been increasing. SA Health issued a warning after a spike in Crypto in Australia, the department’s figures showed just under 400 South Australians picked up the cryptosporidium parasite in 2015. SA Health’s David Cunliffe said the source of the latest spike in cases had not been identified, but cryptosporidium was most commonly spread through pools.
The good news is, when you own a pool, you can prevent this. Here are a few simple tips for ensuring your pool is a healthy and enjoyable place for your family:
- Ask visitors to your pool to shower before they swim. Always rinse well before entering the pool.
- Check your child’s diaper and take your children on bathroom breaks.
- Protect others by not using the pool when you are sick.
- Maintaining proper chemical levels in your pool.
Swimming pools can provide many health and fitness benefits, especially when it is a pool that you own and can control the cleanliness. Contact Leisure Pools today (www.leisurepools.co.nz) and Get Swimming in Quality and Style.