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Unhygienic Pool Behavior: Peeing in the Pool

Posted May 15 2009 10:34pm

Sometimes my family and friends are grossed out by my work in healthcare and this post won' t let them down.  Things like people peeing in the pool are important and I' ll address the reasons and present six tips for healthy swimming.  Once you stop laughing, read on...

In the world of Public Health, water quality is really important because many people can quickly and easily be exposed to some really bad germs that cause illness.  Water is a nice vehicle for germs to float around in until they find you, or your child.  So, the preventative  handwashing  you did in the restroom could easily be undone if you walk out and jump into a dirty pool.

The stats are that 84% of Americans believe their fellow swimmers participate in unhygienic pool behavior and they are right.  The Water Quality and Health Council surveyed 1000 adults nationwide and found that 47% admit to one or more behaviors that contribute to an unhealthy pool. 

  • Peeing in the Pool?:  17% say they have done it. 

  • Showering?:  35% pass the shower without stopping

Proper chlorination plays a key role, but swimmers also have a responsibility for healthy swimming and that means:

    • Don' t swim (or let your kids swim) when you have diarrhea.

    • Don' t swallow (or let your kids swallow) pool water.

    • Practice good hygiene and shower with soap before swimming and teach your kids to do the same.

    • Wash your hands after using the toilet or changing diapers and teach your kids to do the same.

    • Take your kids on bathroom breaks or check diapers often

    • Change diapers in a bathroom or a diaper-changing area and not at poolside

    • Wash your children thoroughly (especially their bottom) with soap and water before they go swimming.

    • Most importantly, don' t pee or poop in the pool and teach your kids not to do so either.

If using a public pool (or maybe even a friend' s) ask about their policy on chlorination, listen to see if you hear pool cleaning equipment at work and perhaps use test strips.  Look for clean, clear and blue water and smooth clean tiles.  If you see slime or smell odors that is a bad sign.

To learn more about healthy swimming and keeping a clean pool visit:
HealthyPools.org         CDC           Water Quality and Health Council

Now go ahead, jump in and enjoy your summer!

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