Are you thinking about heading to a public pool to do some swimming?
Even though you may be dying to swim, you may want to think twice about doing it in a public swimming pool. This is because public pools come with major health risks.
What are the health risks you need to worry about?
Read on to find out.
When most people think about dangers associated with public swimming pools, they think about infections or diseases. However, the most dangerous aspect of a public swimming pool is the risk of drowning.
In your own private pool, there are many barriers you can set up to ensure that people don’t drown. For example, if you have little kids, you can install a childproof fence around your pool to ensure that they don’t get into the pool area when you’re not looking.
Even though there are lifeguards on duty at public pools, sometimes, these pools get very crowded, making it difficult for the lifeguards to keep their eyes on everyone.
If you choose to bring your kids to a public pool, make sure you’re always supervising them when you’re swimming. Don’t just trust the lifeguards to do it for you. Also, make sure your kids are strong swimmers before you let them get in the water.
While you can teach them to swim yourself, it’s best to sign them up for swimming lessons so they can learn the proper techniques. If your kids aren’t strong swimmers, then make sure they stay in the children’s pool.
Drowning is the third leading cause of unintentional death worldwide, and drowning accounts for 7% of all injury-related deaths. Each year, about 320,000 people die from drowning worldwide.
Even if everyone is a great swimmer, it’s still important to take the necessary precautions when going to a public pool.
2. Chemical Exposure
While chemicals are meant to keep public pools clean, they can be dangerously toxic in high amounts.
For example, too much chlorine in the pool can cause itchy, irritated skin, and aggravate asthma symptoms. If you accidentally swallow the water in the pool, some of the chemicals can kill the naturally beneficial bacteria in your body.
If you have your own pool, you can ensure that the chemical levels are where they need to be. Unfortunately, you have no clue what the chemical balance is in a public swimming pool.
This is why we recommend hiring a swimming pool builder to build your own backyard pool.
3. Swimmer’s Ear
Many people think you can only get swimmer’s ear from swimming in open water, but you can also get it from swimming in a public pool.
Swimmer’s ear refers to the inflammation of the outer ear canal, and it causes pain on the outside of your ear. It typically occurs when there is excess water in your ear and that water is somehow contaminated.
Luckily, you can easily treat swimmer’s ear with ear drops prescribed by your doctor. To prevent swimmer’s ear, make sure your family dries out their ears with towels after swimming.
To drain water out of your ear, you can gently pull on your ear lobes as you tilt your head to one side.
Shigellosis is an infectious disease that’s caused by a group of bacteria known as Shigella. Those infected with Shigellosis experience stomach cramps, fever, and diarrhea after two days of being exposed to the bacteria.
Typically, the infection resolves within 5 to 7 days. Shigella can easily contaminate water, which is why you’re at risk of getting it if you swim in a public pool. While the infection is short-lived, the symptoms can be quite brutal. This is another reason why swimming in a private pool is so much better.
5. E. Coli
Most of us think of e.coli as a food-related illness. However, you can also get e.coli from swimming in a public pool. Typically, infection happens when someone is exposed to fecal matter in the pool.
That’s right, pooping in the pool isn’t just disgusting, it can also lead to disease. Most e.coli strains are not dangerous, and there are some that even live in your large intestines.
Unfortunately, e.coli that you get from swimming in a fecal-infested pool can cause diarrhea and vomiting. It can even lead to kidney failure, and in rare cases, death.
Most of think of lice as a disease that children get. However, adults are also susceptible to lice. While you’d think that lice wouldn’t be able to survive in pool water, think again.
These little parasites are actually immune to the effects of chlorine. The goal of this parasite is to attach itself to the human scalp. While your chances of getting lice in a public pool are rare, it can still happen, especially if you share towels or brushes.
It’s always a good idea to bring your own towel to the public pool to ensure you’re using one that’s been properly cleaned.
Commonly referred to as “crypto”, this is another parasite you can contract from swimming in a public pool. This illness leads to cramping, watery diarrhea, and major discomfort.
Crypto lives in the gut of infected animals or humans. An infected person sheds Crypto parasites when they poop. In fact, a single bowel movement can shed between 10 and 100 million parasites.
If you swallow public pool water that’s contaminated with Crypto, you’re at risk of developing the illness.
Public Swimming Pool Risks: Time to Act
Now that you know about the risks of swimming in a public pool, you may never want to go to a public swimming pool again. Luckily, you have the option to build your own pool in your backyard.
Even if you’re on a tight budget, there are many affordable above-ground pool options.
Be sure to check back in with our blog for more safety news and tips.