How to prevent common pool swimming illnesses

Talk about a cesspool.

As the temperature rises, the swimming pool siren gets louder. Chemicals like chlorine and bromine do their best to kill bacteria and viruses, but some germs just keep floating around.

Enjoy the Fourth of July festivities, but beware of illnesses that can result from contaminated pool water or from breathing in evaporated chemicals.

Swimming pools can easily become breeding grounds for bacteria. Alamy Stock Photo

Poo-associated pool pathogens

As HuffPost According to reports, diarrhea is the most common reason for swimming-related illnesses.

When there is feces in the pool, millions of germs are released into the water, and swallowing even a small amount can make people sick.

What’s worse, and more common, is that people don’t get sick from coming into contact with feces. When people swim, small particles of feces can easily pass off their bodies, meaning you may not notice the danger.

If swimming with babies or infants, ensure diapers are changed away from the pool to avoid contamination. Shutterstock / Chandra Ramsuran

Cryptosporidium, norovirus, giardia, shigella, and E. coli are common fecal-borne germs. Depending on the offending germ, symptoms may include fever, cramps, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

If you are swimming with babies or infants, be sure to change diapers away from the pool and/or visit the bathroom frequently to avoid contamination.

Why doesn’t chlorine kill these germs?

Other times, people are exposed to germs during the time it takes for chlorine to kill the germs. Alamy Stock Photo

Sometimes the chlorine, bromine, and pH ratios aren’t exactly right, allowing germs to spread. Other times, people are exposed to germs in the time it takes for the chlorine to kill them.

Dr. Claire Rock“This is one of the reasons why if there is a fecal accident in a pool, lifeguards and pool operators follow certain protocols before allowing people back into the water,” the associate professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine explained to HuffPost.

Cryptosporidium, also known as Crypto, has proven to be particularly resistant to chlorine. Centers for Disease Control and PreventionFrom 2015 to 2019, crypto caused 49% of infectious outbreaks in aquatic spaces such as pools, hot tubs, and water parks.

While chlorine or bromine can kill most germs in just a few minutes, crypto can survive in a water source for a week or more. Shutterstock / Octavio Hoyos

While chlorine or bromine can kill most germs in just a few minutes, crypto can survive in a water source for a week or more.

People with weakened immune systems are more susceptible to severe crypto infections. If you have diarrhea or are sick with crypto, the CDC recommends waiting at least two weeks after symptoms are gone before swimming.

swimmer’s ear

Swimmer’s ear is not contagious and is most often diagnosed in children. Shutterstock

Swimmers ear is a bacterial infection caused by pool water getting into the outer ear canal. When water stagnates in the ear, it breaks down its protective wax, creating an ideal environment for bacteria to grow.

Symptoms of swimmer’s ear include pain, redness, swelling, itching, and drainage from the ear. It’s most common in children, and it’s not contagious.

To prevent and deal with swimmer’s ear, Rock said, “You can use a towel but pull the ear lobe in different directions to squeeze out the water…consider using earplugs or a bathing cap to prevent pool water from entering the ear.”

Burning

Showering before swimming is important for pool safety. nanihta – stock.adobe.com

Skin, eye or throat irritation is a common result of dipping in a swimming pool.

“Chlorine in pools combines with sweat, urine, and dirt to form chemical irritants,” Rock said. “When you smell ‘chlorine’ in a pool, you’re probably actually smelling these chemical irritants as they turn into a gas in the surrounding air.”

These irritants, called chloramines, cause rashes, itching, red eyes, coughing, wheezing and a burning nose. Improper pH levels in swimming pools can cause skin and eye irritation.

Why you should never pee in a pool?

Peeing in the pool is strictly prohibited. Alamy Stock Photo

It is important to shower before swimming. A one-minute shower before swimming is enough to remove most dirt or other substances, using up the chlorine or bromine needed to kill germs.

Experts agree that everyone should avoid peeing in pools, not only because it’s so gross but also because chloramines form when urine, sweat and/or makeup mix with chlorine. These substances also reduce the amount of chlorine that can kill other germs.

safety first

The first precaution for swimmers is to avoid swallowing pool water. Anadolu via Getty Images

To assess the safety of a swimming pool or water park, consider checking the location’s health department inspection record.

HuffPost also recommends making sure you can see the drain at the deep end of the pool, that lifeguards are keeping an eye on swimmers, and that a rescue ring is in place in the absence of a lifeguard.

The first precautions swimmers should take are to avoid swallowing pool water and to stay on dry land while healing from an open wound or cut. If you must swim, use a waterproof bandage and cover the wound completely.

Many New Yorkers may be feeling uncomfortable, dry, and hot this summer, with public pools closed. Alamy Stock Photo

Aside from illness, New Yorkers may have trouble finding safe places to swim this summer.

A persistent shortage of lifeguards is threatening access to New York City’s public pools and beaches.

For those with a yard and a little expendable income, The Post recommends a variety of inflatable swimming pools, including the largest of all, the inflatable water park.

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Disclaimer : The content in this article is for educational and informational purposes only.

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