Many people shower after a day at a public pool, but why are they so adamant about showering before using the pool?
A pre-swim shower can largely increase the risk of water infections and illnesses.
Waterborne diseases such as Recreational Water Illnesses (RWI) affect hundreds of Americans each year and public swimming pools play a major role in spreading these diseases.
Stay Healthy at a Public Pool with These Tips
Every state has its own health and safety swimming pool regulations that are used to protect swimmers in public pools. Nonetheless, here are some more tips to keep safe:
1. Take a Shower Before Using the Water
Makeup, sunscreen, oil, dirt, bug repellent, sweat, and any other substance on your body should be removed before getting into the water.
Most of these nonpathogenic things are gross when they mix with the pool water. Even though you may not get sick by swimming in them, you might think twice about opening your mouth and eyes while swimming.
2. Watch Out for Uncovered Drains
If you notice that the main drain is missing, broken, or damaged, report to the pool’s management as soon as possible. The pool should be closed until the drains are repaired.
Drowning accidents occur when a swimmer’s hair or limb gets trapped in the faulty drains and they can’t surface back for air. As a safety measure, all public pools in the country are required to have anti-entrapment drains and automatic release systems.
3. Take a Break from the Water
If you have kids, round them up out of the pool after an hour or so of swimming and let them take a bathroom break and rinse off. Physiologically and biologically, after approximately an hour of being immersed in water, you’ll feel to pee. This is majorly due to the compression of being underwater.
These breaks will ensure that your kids don’t contaminate the pool water. This also applies to adults.
4. Don’t Drink the Water
This may seem obvious, but did you know that adults ingest more than half an ounce of water every time they take a dip. Kids double that!
All the diving, spitting, and splashing can easily allow waterborne pathogens into your body and make you sick.
5. Don’t Swim with Wounds
There are myths that the chlorine in the pool water can help disinfect a wound. This is not true. A wound is an easy entry point for germs and can make the injury worse. Never swim with a major injury or cut.
6. Wear Goggles, Eardrops, Swim Caps, and Pool Shoes
Whenever you use a public pool, ensure you protect your eyes, ears, and feet. Keep in mind that your eyes don’t turn red because of the chlorine, but because of the different contaminants present in the water.
A swim cap will also protect your hair from discoloring and drying out from the chlorine in the pool. It will also prevent hair products, dandruff, and scalp from getting into the water.
7. Test the Pool Water’s Chlorine Level
Before you cannonball into the public swimming pool, ensure the chlorine level is appropriate to kill off the germs. A healthy swimming pool should have no chemical smell and have a pH of about 7-8.
After a couple of hours, the chlorine levels fluctuate depending on the number of swimmers and the contaminants on their bodies. When these contaminants fill the pool water, the chlorine will not work effectively.
As one part of the general public pool services, the management should maintain the chlorine at appropriate levels all the time.
8. Change Your Bathing Suit
If you use a poorly maintained swimming pool, you’ll most likely come out with a bumpy and itchy infection. They are uncomfortable and may need special medical attention.
You can decrease the chances of getting a rash by putting on a clean bathing suit and changing into dry clothes after your swim. Staying with a wet bathing suit for a long time will increase the exposure of contaminated pool water to your skin.
9. Use a Public Pool with a Lifeguard
One of the major public pool regulations is having a lifeguard. In fact, the management cannot get a public pool permit if it doesn’t have the adequate number of lifeguards.
The lifeguard should be trained and certified in rescue techniques, CPR, and first aid. They should also have brilliant swimming skills.
10. Use Your Eyes, Ears, Nose, and Hands
Use your eyes to examine the cleanliness of the water. Cloudy pool water signifies pH imbalance, poor filtration, or inappropriate chlorine levels.
Touch the pool’s sides and tiles. If they are slimy and have some algae growth, this might indicate poor sanitation, circulation, and filtration.
Listen to the whirring of the pool’s filtering and pumping systems. Knocking sounds may suggest that these systems are not working properly.
And get close to the pool water and smell it. A sharp and potent odor may mean that there’s excess chlorine in the water and may not be safe for swimming.
Take Care of Yourself When Using Public Pools
Today, swimming pools are more popular and more accessible to the public. This has created more opportunities for waterborne outbreaks as well. Therefore, it’s necessary to keep the above tips in mind to make swimming a more fun yet safer experience.