verybody knows they need to shower before getting into a public swimming pool. To most people, that simply means getting their hair wet. This required shower, however, should be a complete cleansing shower. This means using shampoo and soap, just like you would at home. The purpose of the shower is to remove bacteria and personal care products from your body, so they don’t come off in the pool. Personal care products reduce the effectiveness of Chlorine (or other disinfectant), and can clog filters. We need to wash off the bacteria on our bodies (particularly in the nether regions), to make sure we don’t use up the disinfectant faster than the pool equipment can handle–otherwise we’re all just swimming in a giant bathtub.
Parents, please make sure your infants are properly secured with swim diapers and plastic shorts. You don’t want to be responsible for your child closing the pool due to a ‘Code Brown’. If the child does have an accident, the plastic shorts keep it contained.
If you, or a family member, has recently had diarrhea, you must wait at least 2 weeks before going to a public pool. That’s just not something you want to share.
One of the biggest concerns with diarrhea and pools is the possibility of cryptosporidium. About a dozen years ago, there was a big outbreak of Crypto in Utah because people weren’t showering properly, and weren’t waiting long enough to swim after being sick. Chlorine and other similar disinfectants are great at removing bacteria like E. coli, but much less effective on larger, hardier organisms like Crypto. Let’s work together to keep our pools clean and enjoyable by properly showering and staying home when sick.
Keep pool water out of your mouth. Even if you spit it back out, some will remain in your mouth, and you will swallow it.
If you smell chlorine when approaching a pool, it is best to wait and come back later. This smell could sometimes indicate an excessive amount of chlorine that could irritate your skin and lungs, but most likely means the chlorine present is not being effective and the water is actually not very clean.
There are 48 public swimming pools in the TriCounty area–most of which are in hotels. We sample every public pool twice each month to make sure the water is good to swim in, and the pool operators are staying vigilant. In addition to the regular sampling, we inspect each one annually to make sure equipment is in good working condition.