The recent string of super hot days in the United States has resulted in mass numbers of people heading out to pools, beaches and water parks in search of cool, refreshing water to frolic in… but how many of those people practice safe/healthy swimming habits?
Pools and water parks can provide hours and hours of wet fun on a hot summer day but they can also harbor all sorts of unwanted and potentially harmful types of bacteria that can make life very rough for all those who ingest them accidentally.
Ready to get grossed out?
No matter how many times we read them, the following statistics never cease to turn our stomachs:
According to a recent survey conducted on behalf of the Water Quality and Health Council…
- The majority of Americans (81 percent) believe that others are urinating in pools while swimming.
- One in five (20 percent) admitted urinating in swimming pools rather than getting out to use the restroom.
- Additionally, 83 percent of those surveyed said they had concerns about other swimmers possibly having diarrhea. ( source )
So there you have it, folks. Solid proof that we live in a world with truly nasty individuals who, for laziness’ sake alone, willingly turn a nice, cool and refreshing swimming pool into a lukewarm toilet.
Nasty. Simply nasty!
Steps to protect yourself from ‘dirty’ pool water
First of all, assume that nasty people use the pool and make sure the water has, at the very least, an adequate amount of sanitizer (usually free chlorine or bromine), a properly balance pH, and the correct amount of total alkalinity. These three key water quality parameters can make the difference between a safe swimming experience and one that could result in your spending a whole lot of ‘quality time’ in the bathroom for the next week.
Next, do your part to keep the water clean by showering before swimming so that the total contaminant load in the water can stay down. Yeah, we KNOW that jumping into the cool water of a swimming pool after playing basketball, cutting the grass, or any other sweat-forming activity feels good but all that sweat and body oil adds to the organic contaminant load in the water and reduces the amount of sanitizer available to keep potentially harmful germ and bacteria at bay.
As you enjoy your time in the water, do yourself a favor and keep your mouth shut whenever possible. Resist the urge to allow ANY pool water in your mouth because it seriously takes just a really small amount of contaminated pool water to make a person ill.
Granted you went to the pool to get away from work, but do yourself a favor and count the number of sodas/beers folks around you ingest… and note how many times, if any, they excuse themselves to use the restroom. If the math doesn’t add up, then keep away from them in the pool for sure!
If you can, check the flow of water from the return jets because if they don’t produce water then the filter’s not filtering and anything that got into the water (by accident or by intent) will remain in the water… lurking… waiting for a chance to make someone sick.
We all have PERFECT children who NEVER do anything wrong but please take your kids to the bathroom regularly while at the pool. Do we need to say more on the matter?
And finally, after you complete your swim, assume you swam with nasty people who pee in the pool and wash that pool water off by taking a shower, rinsing off w/ a garden hose, etc. Don’t keep that potentially contaminated water on you any longer than you have to!