Hidden Dangers In Pools
Before you decide to go for a swim at the public pool, you may want to think twice about what you’re getting into and what dangers are lurking there.
There are so many health risks that you are not even aware of. Public swimming pools seems to be a playground of diseases that can infect and affect you and your family.
Why Is Chlorine Used For Pools
Chlorine is not so popular chemical, but unfortunately it is used. It has strange and strong odor, makes eyes red, can cause some allergic reactions to swimmers and the most important of all – it is linked to a cancer. It can be absorbed through skin and too much exposure to it might lead to many other health issues.
Chlorine is used because:
- It sanitizes (kills bacteria and germs)
- It oxidizes (controls organic debris from perspiration and body oils)
- It deters algae
But not everyone is fortunate to live near ocean or a lake, and instead they have to go to public pools treated with so many chemicals if they want to cool down on a hot summer day.
If you still want to go, at least try to :
- Swim in an outdoor chlorinated pool
- Shower immediately before and after swim with a natural soap
- Drink plenty of non-chlorinated, filtered water to stay well hydrated
- Shield your eyes while you swim to avoid eye redness
- Change your wet suit immediately after swimming
Why To Shower Immediately?
It is important to shower after swimming in a pool because our bodies generally contain residue of perfume, make-up, body lotion, shampoo and sunscreen.
And when chemicals used to disinfect the pool, mix with organic matter such as sweat, hair or urine, it can create a even more toxic agent and become one of many dangers coming towards us.
How Contaminated They Really Are?
The Centers for Control and Disease’s (CDC) revealed their discovery of high levels of fecal matter in indoor and outdoor pools which caused an alert for stronger reinforcement of public health and safety regulations.
Frequent pool visits can result in long-term chronic illnesses due to continuous exposure to disinfectants,which can react with organic and inorganic material in the water to form disinfectant byproducts.
Many pool goers have unhealthy behavior of peeing in the pool and put swimmers at risk from developing recreational water illnesses.
Also, poor practice of pool maintenance such as in-appropriate disinfectant and pH levels, will make swimmers and especially kids – sick.
A CDC report confirms that one in eight pools were shut down due to negligence of public health and safety regulations, with fecal matter being a common factor to it.
Human Diseases Developed From Public Pools
Unfortunately, our greatest pleasure can turn into a nightmare. Going to pools too often where chemicals presence are at high levels might lead to a certain type of diseases.
Chlorine has been shown to increase the risk of developing asthma. The chlorine scent in pools causes lung irritation in swimmers because of the presence of chloramine byproducts. Chances are if you work as a lifeguard, you are at higher risk of developing asthma.
Water might facilitate transmission of bacteria and provoke lung disease called Legionnaires’ Disease which is similar to pneumonia.
The disease has a strong presence in indoor public swimming pools due to inhaling of bacteria in water vapor. According CDC ,it can grow naturally in warm water and most common at:
- Showers and faucets
- Hot tubs that aren’t drained after each use
- Hot water tanks and heaters
- Large plumbing systems
- Decorative fountains and water features
Usually, most common symptoms are:
- muscle aches
- high fever
- shortness of breath
Who is at high risk developing this disease?
- Current or former smokers
- People over age of 50
- People with chronic lung disease
- People with weak immune system
Feet exposure in a swimming facility can increase the risk of getting the highly contagious athlete’s foot. Swimmers who have already acquired this disease, can easily spread the infection with the pieces of fungi that fall from their feet.
The National Health Service reports that most common places that you can catch fungi is at communal showers, swimming pools and changing rooms.
A helpful tip if you are frequent pool goer is to wear water-resistant shoes or flip-flops and especially avoid borrowing shoes from others.
According to Mayo Clinic, if you get a bacteria infection to your ear after visiting a public pool, it might stay in your ear canal for long periods of time, where bacteria will grow and infect the skin.
If you have any these symptoms, there is a strong possibility that you might have a swimmer’s ear.
- Itching in ear canal
- Redness inside ear
- Drainage of clear and odorless fluid
- Increasing pain
- Blockage of ear canal
- Swelling on lymph nodes on the neck
Don’t wait to long to see a doctor and prevent this condition not to turn into more severe one.
In a study published in Environmental Health Perspectives, researchers studied the effects of genotoxicity in swimmers and the link to the risk of cancer. Swimming for only 40 minutes in chlorinated pool can result in cancer-causing DNA mutations.
As you can see, dangers lurks all the time.
What to say… our greatest pleasure during hot summer day might expose us to a major health risk where hidden dangers lives.
Still, follow the recommendations mentioned earlier in this text and prevent some damage as much as you can!
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