Public pools are opening in 1 week but swimmers beware! The headlines have blared: “CDC RELEASES ANNUAL POOP IN THE POOL REPORT AND IT’S GROSS: 80 PERCENT INSPECTED HAD A VIOLATION” (this one from Newsweek). Read more to find out what you need to know about your pool.
The CDC published a report this week stating that almost 80 percent of the time, inspectors documented at least one health or safety violation. More than 12 percent of inspections resulted in an immediate closure, due to a serious violation and one in every five kiddie pools was closed.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released detailed inspection data from 84,187 routine inspections of 48,632 public aquatic facilities, including hot tubs, pools, and water parks. The most common problems: improper pH levels, faulty or inadequate safety equipment and improper concentration of disinfectants.
What’s That Smell? Not Really Chlorine!
According to last year’s CDC report on pools, “What you smell are actually chemicals that form when chlorine mixes with pee, poop, sweat, and dirt from swimmers’ bodies. These chemicals—not chlorine—can cause your eyes to get red and sting, make your nose run, and make you cough.”
Healthy pools, waterparks, hot tubs, splash pads, and spray parks don’t have a strong chemical smell.
What Infections Lurk in the Pool?
Crypto is a microscopic protozoan parasite that is the leading cause of waterborne illness in the U.S. Crypto causes cryptosporidiosis, a gastrointestinal illness with stomach cramping, nausea, vomiting, fever and watery diarrhea (an illness generally known as gastroenteritis). Symptoms usually begin two to seven days after infection.
A person with crypto sheds as many as 10 million to 100 million spores in a single bowel movement. A healthy person can become sick by ingesting as few as 10 crypto spores. The parasite will then make a temporary home in the small intestines and start to multiply.
Giardia, E.coli, Shigella and Noravirus are some of the other organisms that are frequently found in public waters that make people sick.
What Can You Do to Minimize Infection in Pools
Be a socially responsible swimmer:
- Stay out of the water if you have diarrhea.
- Shower before you get in the water.
- Don’t pee or poop in the water.
- Don’t swallow the water.
The CDC recommends that parents of young swimmers use a test strip available at most superstores to determine whether the pH and the concentrations of chlorine and bromine are at appropriate levels in the water. Also, make sure the drain at the bottom of the deep end of a pool is visible and in good shape, that lifeguards are on duty and that safety equipment such as rescue rings are readily available.
If you opt to do a test strip reading, here are the levels to look for:
- Free chlorine concentration of at least 1 parts per million (ppm) in pools and at least 3 ppm in hot tubs.
- Free bromine concentration of at least 3 ppm in pools and at least 4 ppm in hot tubs.
- PH levels between 7.2 and 7.8.
If you have any questions or have been experiencing one of the above symptoms, see your primary care physician immediately. Evolve Medical is also happy to see you. Same day scheduling on-line here or call 844-322-4222. Or email them at [email protected].
If you find these health and wellness updates helpful, follow Evolve Medical on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Google+.