Is your pool clean and hygienic?
Because swimming in contaminated water can make you sick and you may face severe common health issues?
Do you take necessary precautionary measures before jumping into the pool?
Did you know that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 208 outbreaks associated with treated recreational water in the United States from 2015 to 2019. These outbreaks were due to pathogens or chemicals in aquatic areas, such as pools, hot clubs, and other artificially built aquatic places.
I am not a doctor, but as a swimming teacher and coach for over a decade, I’ve seen my fair share of kids with ear infections, runny noses, coughs and irritated skin. These are very common but can be avoided!
Now, the thing is that it is not only the responsibility of the pool administration to keep the pool clean. But we are also accountable for maintaining the cleanliness and hygiene of the pool.
The question that arises here is HOW? How we can maintain the pool sanitation. And be proactive in keeping our swimming pool healthy and safe for us and our kids.
We all swim in the same pool and environment. So, it is our primary responsibility to observe positive self-care habits. By doing so, we safeguard ourselves and protect our kids, family, and friends from getting potential infections. This way, we can all enjoy a healthy swimming experience together.
Common Health Issues:
Although swimming is one of the healthiest activities, it is a whole-body, low-impact workout that is gentle on your joints. With swimming, you lose weight without even realizing that you are reducing. Swimming helps you improve your coordination, sleep, and mental health. It’s also beneficial in building strength, endurance, and lean muscle mass.
However, it may cause severe swimming-related ailments if you don’t follow healthy and hygienic habits. Swimming-related ailments are the diseases you get when you swim in water contaminated by someone else.
The most common swimming-related ailments may include
- Skin rashes
- Ear pain
- Cough or congestion
- Eye pain
Highest Risk Group:
With the end of the coronavirus episode, we all know that our immunity matters the most. So first of all, here is the list of people who may suffer from the pool’s unhygienic conditions…
- weakened immunity
- Pregnant women
These high-risk groups should consult their healthcare provider before doing activities like swimming.
How Do Swimming-Related Ailments Get Transmitted?
Swimming-related ailments are transmitted if you swallow or have contact with water contaminated with germs. You can also get sick if you have contact with the chemicals in water.
Diarrhea is most common among swimming-related ailments. It spreads when people who already have diarrhea get into the pool for swimming. People with diarrhea usually have 0.14g of poop stuck to their body, equal to a few grains of sand. And even this small quantity is enough to contaminate all the pool water. If someone else swims in this water and accidentally swallows water, he can also get sick with diarrhea.
A study published in 2018 also sheds light on water-transmitted diarrhea. It states that the leading cause of swimming-related gastroenteritis is the infected person’s feces.
Other swimming-related ailments like ear infections and skin rashes are due to the naturally present germs in water. If the pool disinfecting chemicals (chlorine and bromine) are not used in sufficient quantities, these germs spread to cause illnesses in people.
Before Jumping Into The Pool Please Remember:
To stay safe from swimming-related ailments, you must take some precautionary measures before jumping into the pool.
Taking a shower for a minute just before jumping into the pool washes off poop particles, dirt, sweat, skin cells, and makeup. Just one swimmer can take countless germs to the pool, and by showering, you can save all the others from swimming-related ailments.
According to a Water Quality and Health Council survey, 52% of adults don’t shower before swimming in the pool.
Avoid swimming after recent diarrhea:
Don’t swim for two weeks after the diarrheal episode. It’s because the parasite “cryptosporidium” stays in the infected person’s gut for weeks, and symptoms can reappear days after recovery.
As per a survey, 1 out of every four adults swim within one hour of having diarrhea. These infected people become the source of contamination.
“Crypto” is not easily killed by chlorine and can stay in water for up to 10 days.
Don’t contaminate water:
Keeping the pool clean and hygienic is your fundamental duty. Avoid contaminating it with poop or pee. Parents must be very active and vigilant about their kids. If you witness any such incident, report it to the pool administration immediately.
Don’t swallow pool water:
Think of the microbes and gunk you take into the pool if you don’t shower before swimming. According to CDC, you take
- 10 million microbes by hair
- 8 million microbes by a single drop of spit
- 5 million microbes by hand
- 140 billion microbes by poop (A kid brings in even more )
- Billions of microbes by mouth, nose, and skin
- 1-2 soda cans by sweat
- 1 cup pee
An adult who swims for 45 minutes swallows one tablespoon of pool water. Now, imagine how many microbes he would be taking in by mouth. Do whatever you can to minimize taking water in your mouth.
Also, guide your kids not to swallow pool water deliberately and try to avoid ingesting it as much as possible.
Now Let’s Keep Our Pool Clean:
Here are five tips on how you can keep your pool clean…
Take a break every hour:
Adults and kids should take a break every hour to go to the toilet and drink water to stay hydrated.
It’s more important for kids as you can take them to the washroom and check their diapers. Help them wash their hands properly after using the toilets.
Use swim diapers:
Swimming diapers are recommended for kids because they are designed to contain solid waste and prevent it from leaking into the pool, making it more hygienic to swim with young children.
Caregivers are advised to check swim diapers every hour and change them in the restrooms. It will help keep the pool hygienic.
Stay away if you have an open cut or wound:
- Avoid stepping into the swimming pool with an open cut or wound.
- Talk to your doctor to ensure that your wound is healed, and then go swimming.
- Use waterproof bandages to cover the affected area.
Take a pool strip test:
If you need clarification on the cleanliness of the pool, carry out the strip test. Strip tests ensure that the pool has adequate amounts of free chlorine, which is enough to kill germs. Strips are readily available in the market.
You can also check the pool water’s pH levels, indicating how effectively the germs are killed or inactivated.
Things To Remember After Swimming To Avoid Common Health Issues:
Our expert coach, at Swimcore, guides us about hygiene and staying healthy after the swim session. He says, With all this talk of coronavirus, I’ve been thinking a lot about hygiene and health.
Here are the top tips – some may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t take simple steps to fight these annoying swimming-related ailments.
1. Use a good moisturizer:
After swimming, use a good moisturizer. A basic one without irritating chemicals is best, although covering up the smell of chlorine with heavily perfumed gels and creams can be tempting. These might irritate your skin more.
Theo says, At the end of my daily lessons, I apply this soap TRISWIM in the shower, eliminating the chlorine smell from your body after swimming. After you dry off, use this moisturizer named JASON. My chiropractor recommended this one. It’s an organic one, 84% made with aloe vera, without the chemicals and palm oils in other commercial brands of moisturizer, which can be bad for the skin in the long term.
2. Keep a Well-Stocked Kit Bag:
Always have a well-stocked kit bag. In my swimming bag, I always carry a little toiletries case with tissues, ear drops, Savlon or some other antiseptic cream, cotton buds, antibacterial hand gel, throat lozenges, spare socks (in case they get wet), etc.
3. Dry Your Hair:
Dry hair properly after every swim session. Then apply AQUAGUARD to protect your hair, and check for TRISWIM Moisturizing Repairing Hair. If you have long hair, these are a lifesaver before drying it! It might be tempting to rush out onto your next appointment, but it is essential to take the time to properly dry your hair and ears before stepping out into the wind or cold.
And if you can wear a hat, scarf or earmuffs, even better. Do the same thing with your feet, drying between your toes to avoid unpleasant verrucas or dry feet.
4. Symptoms of Cold:
If you suspect you have the beginnings of a cold, stomach bug, or verruca, DO NOT COME SWIMMING TO THE POOL! Even though pools are immaculate places that get bleached multiple times a day, the spread of germs can still occur in humid conditions. It’s better to skip your lesson and return when you feel 100% – you and the other pool users will thank you for it!
The same tips apply to parents and nannies who take their kids swimming: follow these tips to stick to a healthy routine for the children.
5. Clean Your Ears Properly:
If water is blocked in your ear, putting a few drops of AXLETIC and massaging them to warm up and loosen the wax can be helpful for swimming.
6. Clean your nose properly:
I often see kids blowing bubbles through their noses, letting out a giant green snot snake! PLEASE make your children blow their noses correctly and go to the toilet before and after the swimming lesson!
Adults must also blow their noses properly and correctly to avoid infection.
If you take these tips on board and make them a habit, you will always have a pleasant swimming session and help stop the spread of germs in the pool!
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