Pool Etiquette

CDC Offers Pool Etiquette Tips

As we head into the Summer The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is some tips on Pool Etiquette.

Oddly enough, their first and tip is – Do Not Pee In The Pool.

Although urine in the water probably will not cause swimmers to go to the emergency room, it causes “more of a respiratory, ocular irritation: the red puffy eyes or a cough, an itchy throat,” said Michele Hlavsa, an epidemiologist in the division of parasitic diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”A big health message is not to urinate or pee in the water.”

And it happens far more frequently than we would like to think.

In a survey of 1,000 U.S. adults conducted in April and May, 17 percent admitted relieving themselves in a swimming pool.

When swimmers have coughs or red, stinging eyes after emerging from the pool they usually dismiss those symptoms as the effects of chlorine, but their causes are something more organic.

Sweat or ‘urinate’ in the pool water combined with the chlorine creates chloramines, which causes the strange odor and the eye and respiratory irritations for swimmers, according to the CDC.

The survey released by Golodner’s group, which advises the American Chemistry Council, found that:

  • 11 percent of the surveyed adults said they have swum with a runny nose
  • 7 percent with an exposed rash or cut
  • 1 percent when ill with diarrhea

The most common recreational water illness is spread through diarrhea. One of the most persistent problems is Cryptosporidium, a parasite that causes diarrhea and can be found in infected stools.

“With Crypto, if you have diarrhea, it’s very watery,” Hlavsa said. “It’s not a formed stool sitting in the pool or floating on top. It could be very watery, and no one [in a pool] would know.”

During the past two decades, Crypto has become one of the most common causes of waterborne illness.

Unlike E. coli and salmonella, Crypto can resist chlorine. In 2007, the parasite sickened more than 1,200 people who had visited recreational water facilities in Utah.

According to the CDC, if someone swallows water that has been contaminated with feces, he or she may become sick even if very little water is consumed.

Recreational water illnesses have been on the rise for the past two decades, according to the CDC. From 2005 to 2006, the agency reported 78 outbreaks of recreational water illnesses associated with swimming pools, water parks, hot tubs, lakes, rivers and oceans that affected 4,412 people and resulted in 116 hospitalizations and five deaths.

Here are tips to make sure the pool is clean:

  • Look at the pool to see whether it’s clean and clear, and the drain is visible.
  • Listen for pool equipment, because the pool pumps and filters should make noise.
  • Feel the tiles and pool sides. They should not be sticky or slippery.
  • Beware of a strong chemical odor. A well-chlorinated pool has little odor.

Pool Etiquette

  • Don’t swim when you have diarrhea
  • Avoid swallowing pool water
  • Shower before swimming
  • Wash your hands after using toilet or changing diapers
  • Take children on bathroom breaks or check diapers often
  • Change diapers in bathroom and not at poolside

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About the author

Lisa Arneill

Founder of Growing Your Baby and World Traveled Family. Canadian mom of 2 boys, photo addict, lover of bulldogs, and museumgoer. Always looking for our next vacation spot!

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