How Dirty Swimming Pools Can Affect Your Health
The benefits of swimming have been well documented. Not only is there nothing more refreshing than going for a dip on a hot summer’s day, but swimming will keep you looking fit in a way that is a very relaxing form of exercise while being very low impact. Swimming will build your endurance, strength and provide a full-body workout.
However, you might be surprised to learn that these benefits can be offset in pools that are not well maintained. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found an astonishing number of bacteria and germs (including fecal matter!) in public pools, which can directly cause a number of recreational water illnesses.
58 per cent of public pools in the study by the CDP tested positive for E-coli, which is an indication that fecal matter is lurking around in pools, largely due to the fact that swimmers fail to shower before getting into the pool. If ingested, certain strains can potentially lead to bloody diarrhea and even renal failure.
- Hepatitis A.
This virus can be lurking in pools if chlorine levels are not sufficient enough. Hepatitis A is a liver disease with very serious symptoms and can even cause acute liver failure, which can be very life threatening.
This disease is typically caused when you swallow contaminated water; it can cause a number of unpleasant symptoms, including abdominal cramps, constant diarrhea and weight loss for as much as three weeks.
This can linger in pools and hot tubs for up to ten days; it can cause serious problems within your gastrointestinal tract, including diarrhea, if it is swallowed.
- Pseudomonas Aeruginosa.
This was detected in 59 per cent of the pools examined in the study by the CDC. It can cause both skin rashes (hot tub folliculitis) and ear infections, particularly swimmer’s ear, a very painful infection.
Protecting Yourself in Public Pools:
- If the pool has a strong smell, it is best to avoid that pool. Chlorine does not actually indicate cleanliness; rather, it is exact opposite. It is actually chlorine mixing with urine and sweat that creates this strong smell. A clean pool should not carry any scent.
- It is is advisable to wear goggles to protect your eyes from becoming irritated. Did you know that when your eyes sting, it is not due to chlorine but rather the binding of chlorine and urine (and other bodily fluids)? As always, avoid swallowing water.
It might be time to consider installing a pool in your own backyard where you can ensure that your pool is healthy and clean. If you already have a pool, however, it is imperative to maintain proper chlorine levels (1-3 mg/l or parts per million) and pH levels (7.2-7.8) to maximize their germ-killing power.
If you are concerned about the cleanliness of your pool, Ferrari Pools offers weekly maintenance services and pool inspections from the professionals. We are New England’s #1 choice. Contact us today for more.