I love the beach but I also love swimming pools. All that salt-free water that is (hopefully) clean and blue, is only steps away from my lounger! To be able to swim laps, play with my kids, or just cool off is my idea of a great weekend.
Swimming pools, especially public or club pools are only as clean and safe as the people who use them, and the staff who clean them. Cleaning is vital as are, unfortunately, the chemicals used to keep us safe. Chemicals work well, but can also cause irritation. It’s a pro and con situation that’s necessary.
Chlorine is a common chemical used to keep pools clean. It works well and it's inexpensive.
According to Dr. Gwen Dewar, who wrote an article on pool safety for Parenting Science, chlorine can kill dangerous germs like:
• E. coli, Rotavirus, Salmonella, and Shigella
Each of these can cause gastrointestinal symptoms Some people may become seriously ill.
Adenoviruses are linked with many illnesses such as eye infections,gastroenteritis and respiratory infections.
• Pseudomonas aeruginosa
Pseudomonas aeruginosa can cause pneumonia, urinary tract infections, along with several other illnesses.
The downside of chlorine is that it can be an irritant for many people. Too much and it can cause red and sore eyes, upper respiratory discomfort and possible inflammation. It’s important for parents to report suspected over-chlorination to the pool managers. And of course, chlorine doesn't rid the pool of all bacteria.
The CDC has some interesting statistics about reported illnesses from public swimming pools:
- There are 10.4 million residential and 309,000 public swimming pools in the United States.
- Almost 1 in 8 — 12.1percent, or 13,532 of 111,487 — routine pool inspections conducted during 2008 identified serious violations that threatened public health and safety, and resulted in an immediate closure.