Swimming is not only one of the most popular activities in America, but it also brings along several health benefits. The best part about this exercise is that people who have joint problems can also conveniently swim to improve their physical health.
Now with summers proceeding fast, taking a dip in the water is on everyone’s mind. But is jumping into public pools safe? Most would nod their head yes, after all the swimming pool has chlorine in it which works to clean off germs. But is this chemical doing its job effectively and completely? Unfortunately, no.
Swimming pools found to contain resistant pathogens including poop particles
Inspection checks by the Center for Disease Control revealed that several germs still lived in public pools. These harmful bacteria carry the ability to cause and transmit infections and viruses. It has been found that even visible as well as invisible poop particles can be present in the swimming pool.
These particles are the chief cause of infection transmission. The cryptosporidium parasite which lives in pool gets into it from people’s anus. This parasite has been associated to a number of health risks. Therefore, it must be known that despite the use of chlorine which is a cheap and effective way to kill off bacteria, some resistant strains may still thrive in pool water.
Common health risks linked to swimming pools
Chlorine is added to pools in limited amounts because the chemical is itself an irritant. However, despite being a strong disinfectant, chlorine cannot clear all types of bacteria, though it kills off most. Highly-tolerant pathogens still persist. Stats reveal that the 2000 – 2014 period saw about 5000 cases admitted for medical attention because of these bacteria.
These pathogens do not only come from humans but also from environmental factors such as fugus, bird droppings, etc. Even the clothes we wear can contain harmful bacteria which can spread pathogens in the pool. This is why wearing swimsuits is mandatory. Those are made using fabrics that make it easier for chlorine to clear off germs.
Some health problems which are typically cause because of these pool pathogens include:
- Legionnaires’ disease
- The influenza virus
- Athletes Foot
- Swimmer’s ear
This shows why flapping your limbs with other people in the same people is not as good an idea as it may seem.
Are germs your only problem or other compounds in the water as well?
More bad news; chlorine and chlorine compounds can interact with other agents found in the pool water and form by-products that can harm health. These disinfectant by-products or DBPs are formed when agents such as feces, sweat, saliva, hair, urine, and even cosmetics and sunscreens come into contact with chlorine.
DBPs can damage lungs when a swimmer is exposed to them regularly. They can be swallowed, absorbed by the skin or even inhaled when they evaporate into the air surrounding the pool.
What you can do to reduce the risks
First off all, before you take a dip be sure that you are not able to smell the chlorine in the pool. If you are able to smell it, it means that there is too much of it in there. Secondly, choose a swimming pool that is an area with good ventilation. This will ensure that pool air is not recirculated, and fresh air gets in. Also make certain that the pool you choose is strict when it comes to cleanliness.
If you’re sweating too bad, dry off, and then swim. Don’t contaminate the water by diving right in. Also, don’t forget you swimming suit. Last but not the least, do not spit or pee in the pool.
Wrap up thoughts
CDC reports that though chlorine in public pools clears off most pathogens some bacteria may still persist. These can cause a number of health problems including swimmer’s ear, athlete’s foot, etc. What’s more, the DBPs found in and around swimming pools are also a cause of concern. In this regard, there are some pool guidelines that one must stick by in order to minimize the risks of disease.