Is There Anything Besides People In That Pool?!
The first day of summer is fast approaching, and as I've been driving around, I've seen that the public pools are starting to get cleaned up, drained, and ready for the summer onslaught of kids and adults alike, looking for some respite from all the hot weather that is inevitably on it's way.
Ultimately, it begs the question....Is there anything floating around in there we don't want to know about, yet really should know about?
There are many answers to that question. And in fact, the conversation shouldn't be limited to just the public pools. It should also be about hotel pools, hot tubs, and any other sources of aquatic enjoyment you may looking to utilize. According to an article at PBS.org, the public swimming holes are often linked to parasites and bacteria that can cause a host of uncomfortable body ailments.
The CDC has been tracking data since 2000, and between then and 2014, there have been almost 500 disease outbreaks, defined as two or more people sharing the same symptoms. 27,000 people in 46 states and Puerto Rico were cited in the study. The bulk of the various infections came from hotel pools and hot tubs. Folks suffered from Cryptosporidium, Legionella, and Pseudomonas.
The chief offender was Cryptosporidium, which typically causes diarrhea, because of it's amazingly high resistance to chlorine. This trait makes it very hard to get out of pools and often requires them to be drained and refilled. A lot of places think just adding more chlorine to the water will solve the issue, but often over-chlorination leads to other side effects of its own.
It's often a vicious circle that causes the issue. Folks get sick from accidentally ingesting water from the pool, break out in several symptoms, and don't follow through with proper hygiene and get back in the pool, starting the cycle all over again. then other people will get sick. It's best to shower before and after you swim, to help mitigate the circle of infection.
Now, I'm not trying to cause a panic, or say that your local public pool is a cesspool. But, like anything, it's always good to think about what may be lurking underneath, so that if you do start to feel sick, you might give a thought to some of the public places you've been, and have some insight as to why you might be sick, and to give potential healthcare workers an idea what they're trying to diagnose.
But ultimately, summer will be here soon, and we're all going to need some relief from the heat. So don't be scared, be cautious. Like Grandma used to say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. So I'll see you down at the old swimming hole, and see who can achieve the splashiest cannonball.
Trust me, I'll win.