CLEAR Water ≠ CLEAN Water
Don’t Hazard A Guess; Be Certain About Pool Health Before Jumping In!
Even the best maintained pools can spread illness. Over the past two decades, Recreational Water Illnesses (RWIs) connected with swimming pools have been on the rise.
“Even the best maintained pools can spread illness, which often takes out most of its dangers on children.”
Swimmers – and pool operators – may wonder, “Doesn't chlorine kills germs?” The answer is yes, but it doesn't work immediately, and it takes time, according to L.A. County (L.A.C.) Aquatics. The good news is that outbreaks caused by E. coli O157:H7 appear to be rare if free chlorine levels are maintained at recommended levels throughout the pool. However, germs like "Crypto" (Cryptosporidium) are resistant to chlorine and can live in swimming pools many days. Crypto can be life-threatening and sometimes fatal in persons with compromised immune systems, persons who have received an organ transplant, patients taking certain immunosuppressive drugs or those receiving certain types of chemotherapy.
Recreational water illnesses like Giardia, Shigella and E. coli O157:H7 are usually spread by accidentally swallowing water that has been contaminated with fecal matter. Even spas can spread a variety of germs (e.g., Legionella and Pseudomonas) that can cause skin and respiratory illnesses if disinfectant levels are not properly maintained. Furthermore, you may not associate your symptoms such as diarrhea and skin rashes (the most common RWIs) with your recreational experience, because the illness may not appear until days after swimming.
Tips for safety from waterborne illnesses
1. Avoid swallowing or getting pool water in your mouth.
2. Refrain from swimming when you have diarrhea symptoms.
3. Parents, take children for bathroom breaks regularly.
4. Parents, do not change diapers at poolside.
It pays to be attentive to the quality of the water you’re immersing yourself in. Cryptosporidium, for example, causes vomiting, diarrhea, fever, weight loss and other symptoms that wreak havoc on anyone’s body, but can be especially deadly to children. Don’t hazard a guess – be certain about the health and purity of your play environment.