Doctors warnings for swimming pools this summer

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Do you know the reason swimmers get red, irritated eyes? It’s not the chlorine itself.

It’s due to the reaction of chlorine mixing with urine, according to Thomas Lachocki, PhD, CEO of the National Swimming Pool Foundation.

And according to Michele Hlavsa, RN, MPH, chief of the Center for Disease Control’s Healthy Swimming Program, the average person brings to the pool:

  • Billions of skin microbes
  • One or two soda cans’ worth of sweat
  • One cup of pee
  • 0.14 grams of poop

And kids can carry even greater amounts of germ-laden matter. They can bring up to 1 grams of feces into a pool.

“If 1,000 kids go to a waterpark, then 10,000 grams — or 22 pounds — of poop will potentially rinse off of their bodies into the water,” noted Hlavsa.

Chlorine, the disinfectant that is busy cleaning the pool of all this filth, is sore pressed to really deal with germs as well, such as E. coli, norovirus and legionella, which can lead to sickness if even small amounts are swallowed.

“People believe that the water is sterile because it’s a pool with chlorine in it, but the reality is as soon as you stick a human body in water, it’s no longer sterile. There are bacteria and germs that can get in the water,” said Lachocki.

The CDC recommends maintaining chlorine levels at around 1.0 and 3.0 parts per million, and testing pool’s chlorine levels regularly. They also recommend showering before swimming, avoiding getting water in your mouth, checking diapers every hour, and refraining from reliving yourself in the pool.

By Cheryl Bretton