This summer is already unusually hot where I live and kids and adults are flocking to the local public swimming pools and wading pools.
But I read a couple of articles last week that first made me think “Eww!”, and then made me wonder about how healthy public pools really are.
A diarrhea-causing parasite that is often transmitted through water is causing an increasing number of outbreaks in U.S. pools and spas, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Turns out there is a reason pools ask swimmers to shower before entering the water!
This parasite [Cryptosporidium] is able to survive even in chlorine-treated pools for more than 10 days. Crypto was responsible for more than 90 percent of pool outbreaks that occurred during summer months.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends:
- Don’t swim if you (or your child) has diarrhea (please!).
- If you are diagnosed with Crypto, wait at least 2 weeks after diarrhea stops to get back in the pool.
- Take a shower before swimming (the bacteria can live on your skin).
- Take your children on frequent bathrooms breaks.
- Change diapers in the bathroom, not the pool deck.
- Avoid swallowing pool water.
The second article relates to the red, itchy eyes we can get from public pools—I used to think it was caused by excessive chlorine.
According to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it’s not the chlorine in a swimming pool that makes your eyes red and itchy after a swim – it’s the pee. You may want to think twice about not wearing goggles before swimming in that public pool.
Like I said, “Eww!” Apparently the nitrogen in our pee (and sweat) combines with the chlorine to form chloramine, and that is the chemical responsible for the worst eye irritation.
Follow the above recommendations from the CDC, and please don’t pee in the pool!
And if your eyes (or your child’s) are very red and irritated, you can easily rinse them with plain, tepid water. Tilt your head. Using a cup, pour the water into the inner corner of the lower eye and let it wash over the eyeball. Position a basin to catch the water. Retilt your head and do the other eye. Repeat for 3-5 minutes.
You can also use an eyewash from the drugstore.
Public pools are a terrific resource during the summer months. Just take a few precautions to keep you and yours healthy.
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