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What’s Lurking in Swimming Pools?

Urine is not the only thing to be worried about in a swimming pool. More harmful toxins can actually lurk in the water.

Think about all the germs and bacteria that can come from a single person. A swimmer can leave behind sweat, sunscreen, skin cells, hair, saliva, and trace amounts of poop.

While chlorine or bromine in pools will help kill some of these bacteria, they don’t kill all of it.

Common symptoms of swim-related illness

Swim-related illnesses are often spread when you swallow, have contact with, or breathe in the mists from water that’s contaminated. The most common swim-related illness is diarrhea. Some others include:

  • Skin rash
  • Ear pain/infection
  • Cough or congestion
  • Eye pain

What you can’t see in the water

Aside from bacteria from stools that can end up in pool water, viruses can spread here too. Hepatitis A, enterovirus, and norovirus are some common ones.

Cryptosporidium is also a common illness that can rapidly spread in a pool. This parasite causes diarrhea and commonly impacts children. It’s normally associated with outbreaks at public swimming pools.

E. coli is another notorious bacteria that’s transmitted via food or water contaminated by fecal matter. An E. coli infection can cause severe diarrhea.

Safety steps to take

You can take many steps to reduce the spread of bacteria in swimming pools. They include:

  • Shower before getting into the pool
  • Have young children wear a swim diaper in the pool at all times
  • Take your child to the bathroom every hour
  • Wash your hands after using the restroom and changing a diaper
  • Don’t go swimming if you are sick or have diarrhea
  • Don’t swallow pool water