February 20, 2020

Dangers of Swimming Pools – Diseases Illnesses Found In Pool Water & How To Prevent Them – Safe Ways To Enjoy The Pool This Summer

During the summer ☀, pools are swamped with people, and for good reason. There is nothing quite like a dip in pool water on hot summer days. Unfortunately though, people like me who are sensitive, may not be able to enjoy pools as much as others. The reason for this is because the huge amount of bacteria found in them. 

When I was a little girl 👧, every time my mother would take me to the pool, I would come home with a painful ear👂infection that would last for days. So over time, I eventually stopped getting into pools all together; instead, I would use a blow up pool as a child, and when I became a teen, I prefered to read while my friends swam in the pool.

I am not the only one I met who got sick after hopping into a pool; it is just that many people do not connect the illnesses that follow a day in the pool. So today, I will teach you all about the kinds of bacteria that can be found in pools, and the symptoms that come with them. 

Bacteria Found In Swimming Pools

Many different bacteria can be found in pools. You have bacteria from the bodies of others that get into it. Parents who put their baby in the water can contaminate the water with E.coli. There is also bacteria from the leaves that fall into the pool, and the germs in the air that blow into it. Lastly, let’s not forget how people stay in the pool for hours without getting out, despite eating and drinking, so they are also urinating in the pool. 

“Viruses, bacteria and protozoa are the culprits in most swimming pool-related sickness outbreaks. The mucus, saliva, blood and skin of infected swimmers can directly contaminate pool and spa water with sufficient pathogens to cause infections in other swimmers who come in contact with it. Feces are a particular danger in pools, as the pathogens they contain are typically present in enormous numbers, approaching a million per gram of feces. A single fecal release in a pool could contaminate millions of gallons of water…” (“Pool Water Pathogens”, Nick Gromicko, InterNACHI).

Pools are a great idea, but people can ruin it through neglect. When pool employees don’t clean the pool properly or they don’t change, update, and properly maintain pool equipment, it can lead to contamination.

Photo by Lúcio Arantes from Pexels

Pool employees are not the only ones who are neglectful though, those who frequent pools are guilty of this as well. Parents who put babies in the pool who are not potty trained are contaminating everyone with feces, even when you wipe the baby after you change their dipper, there is still a good chance that a small amount of feces will still remain. Furthermore, since the baby is not potty trained, the baby may go to the bathroom in the water, so babies should be kept out of the pool until they are potty trained.

Babies are not the only ones who contaminate pools though. Adults contaminate it also. Some people who are sick may get into the pool, and they can spread their illness or disease to others this way. Here are some examples of this that were in the news:

Image source: InterNACHI

Diseases Spread In Pools:
  1. Cryptosporidium
  2. E.coli
  3. Giardia
  4. Shigella
  5. Swimming Pool Conjunctivitis
  6. Campylobacter
  7. Ear Infections
  8. Hepatitis A
  9. Swimmer’s Itch
  10. Salmonella
  11. Dermatitis
  12. Norovirus
Over the years, there have been many outbreaks of E.coli and Cryoptosporidium in pools. Here are a few of those cases:

Image source: CDC Website

“A multistate outbreak of hepatitis A was traced to a campground in Louisiana. Among 822 campers during one weekend, 20 developed hepatitis A…Because of the design of the filtering system of adult pool A, a cross-connection between a sewage line and the pool water intake line was possible. This outbreak may have been caused by transmission of hepatitis A through swimming; thus, swimming may serve as a mode of transmission of hepatitis A virus, especially among small children” (“An outbreak of hepatitis A associated with swimming in a public pool”, 1992, Mahoney, Farley, Kelso, Wilson, Horan, & McFarland, PubMed.gov).

Image source: ArsTECHNICA

Getting sick from pools is nothing new. Since pools came into existence, people have always gotten sick from them, but people are more aware of these issues today than they were in the past. 

If you have gotten into a pool recently, make sure that you pay attention to any changes in your body following a trip to the pool; don’t ignore anything odd, so that you can catch any illness immediately before it can get serious.

Symptoms That Accompany Illnesses Spread By Pools:

  1. Headaches
  2. Diarrhea
  3. Stomach Cramping
  4. Ear Pain
  5. Throwing UP
  6. Dizziness
  7. Skin Rashes
  8. Blurry Vision
  9. Nausea
  10. Fever
  11. Changes In Hunger/Appetite
  12. Weight Loss

Tips For Safer Swimming Options

The best healthiest way to enjoy a swimming pool is to have your own and control who gets in it, or to use those cheaper blow up pools. 

Tips For Maintaining A Cleaner Pool:

  1. Treat the water regularly with an astringent.
  2. Empty out the pool water and get new water at least once or twice a year, depending on how often you use it.
  3. Don’t allow pets into the pool.
  4. Keep babies out of the pool.
  5. Have children be clean or bathe before entering the pool.
  6. Have everyone go to the bathroom outside of the pool. No urinating in the pool should be a rule.
  7. Don’t allow anyone sick to get into the pool.
  8. Keep the pool covered when not in use.
  9. Wear ear plugs and goggles to protect eyes and ears from infection when in someone else’s pool. 

Final Thoughts

Pools are amazing during the summer, and you don’t have to avoid them, just be smart about how you enjoy them. I recommend avoiding all jacuzzi’s and public pools that get hundreds of people visiting them each day in the summer, but feel free to enjoy your friends’ pools or your own pool. You can easily get blow up pools at great prices and they are far easier to keep clean and maintain. You can even get water slides for it for as little as $20. The whole family can enjoy these pools together without the fear of getting sick or contaminated.

What are your plans for fun in the sun this summer?

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