26 August 2009

This Labor Day, keep yourself healthy by keeping your pool healthy


After my post from 23 July, Don't try this at home, I got embroiled in a bit of a dust up with a bunch of fuzzy-thinking folk who honestly believe it's some kind of a noble and healthy thing to provide your kids with an unchlorinated pool. By the end of it, I'd been accused of everything from being a shill for the "Chemical Industry," whatever that is, to being a Republican. Whatever. Anyhow, the bright side of that experience was my exposure to a website called Healthy Pools.

Healthy Pools is dedicated to the safe and healthy enjoyment of pools and spas the the public outreach they do is a tremendous public service.

The following is a list of myths and facts that came from Healthy Pool's website.


Myth
I can’t get sick from swimming in a pool.

Fact
Swimming is a fun and healthy activity. However, swallowing, breathing, or having contact with contaminated water from swimming pools can spread illnesses. In fact, the number of outbreaks associated with swimming has increased over the past decade.


Myth
Clear pool water means clean pool water.

Fact
Microorganisms can be present even in pools that appear clean. What you smell, feel, and hear can help you sense whether you’re swimming in a healthy pool.


Myth
All germs that can cause illness are immediately killed by standard pool cleaning chemicals, such as chlorine.

Fact
Chlorine kills germs that can cause illness in pool water; but it takes time. While chlorine eliminates most within minutes, some germs such as Cryptosporidium can survive in a properly treated pool for days.


Myth
When I smell the strong odor of pool chemicals, it means the swimming pool water is very clean.

Fact
The heavy chemical odor is not from chlorine. It means that unhealthy chloramines have formed in the water, created from the mix of chlorine and contaminants. Chloramines are not as effective in disinfecting swimming pool water. A well-maintained pool has little odor.


Myth
When I get red eyes while swimming, it means there is too much chlorine in the water.

Fact
Red eyes and itchy skin are usually caused by improper pH or high chloramine levels. Surprisingly, the pool may actually need additional chlorine treatment to get rid of chloramines and sanitize the water.


Myth
I only need to shower before going into the pool if I haven’t bathed that day.

Fact
All swimmers should shower before entering the pool. Perspiration, body oil, urine, and other waste are with us at all times. Without showering, it all comes with us when we go swimming.


Myth
As long as a child is wearing a diaper in the pool, there’s no chance for a contamination of the water.

Fact
“Accidents” from diapered children pose a risk of contamination. To minimize this risk, parents must wash children thoroughly, front and back, with soap and water, and make sure a clean, form-fitting “swim diaper” is worn by the child at all times. Just remember that swim diapers are not leak proof


Myth
Keeping a swimming pool clean and healthy is the lifeguard’s and pool manager’s responsibility.

Fact
Employees help keep pools clean, but they cannot be your only defense. Each one of us has a responsibility to follow good public health practices, stay alert for unhealthy conditions, and report problems when they occur.

Thank you Healthy Pools!


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