Scientific American recently published an article about how germs get into pools and just want a cesspool they can become when not cared for properly – and it’s not just commercial pools at hotels or apartment complexes where such a fun zone can become germ central.
I’ve seen it and even my other half who once cleaned pools on her own route witnessed the grossness that pools can become – thick ooze from algae run wild, frogs, dead birds, etc. not to mention human waste (TMI, right? But it’s true!).
The recent article covering the science of this grossness shed light on why swimming pools must be maintained – it’s not just a cringing, nervously laughing matter. Here’s what they had to say:
The protozoan organism Cryptosporidium, one of the most frequent causes of waterborne disease, has become a major problem in swimming pools, says Charles Gerba, a microbiologist at the University of Arizona who’s spent decades studying how pathogens are transmitted. Crypto is a microscopic parasite with a tough outer shell that allows it to survive for days even in properly chlorinated pools.
The results are not pretty or healthy — prolonged bouts of diarrhea if swimmers drink contaminated water.
Here are some more gross facts from Scientific American that will have you think twice about just jumping in any old swimming pool you come across:
One of Gerba’s studies from a decade ago revealed that bathers naturally shed an estimated 0.14 gram of fecal matter during a swim. Another Gerba study indicated the average bather releases 50 milliliters of urine and a liter of sweat per hour into the water during a recreational swim.
But there is also not a lot you have to do to simply avoid such dirty water. Here are some tips:
- If it’s your own swimming pool, check water quality each week, or, if is used a lot, a few times a week. Also, maintain chemical balance, clear out debris, and clean filter periodically.
- If you are using other swimming pools, don’t add to the problem. Take kids out of the water frequently for bathroom breaks and diaper changes for the little ones.
- If you are using another swimming pool and concerned, be sure to thoroughly wash yourself with soap and water prior to re-entering water and when you are done swimming.
- Look for signs of trouble in the pool in terms of foamy water, not being able to see the bottom of the pool, or more obvious signs that I don’t need to say but you can figure out.
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