Just because the water in the pool is clear and blue doesn’t mean it’s completely clean. Contrary to popular belief, the chlorine in your swimming pool doesn’t kill all germs instantly.
We hate to gross you out, but the average swimmer contributes at least 0.14 grams of fecal matter to pool water; tons of bacteria and viruses are resilient beasts that can last in a chlorinated swimming pool for days. And these nasty ones can cause illnesses, skin and gastrointestinal infections, and in extreme cases, even death.
Here are some precautions to keep you and your fellow pool-users safe.
1. Check if the pool is clean
Before cannonballing (what other way does one enter the pool?), touch the sides of the pool should make sure it’s smooth, not slippery and sticky. Make sure it smells right, too – a particularly strong chlorine-like odour can mean the pool is concentrated with chloramines, chemicals comprised of chlorine mixed with body oil, sweat, urine, faeces, and more.
In which case, ABORT!
2. And check if it’s being cleaned.
Make sure the pool water is constantly being flushed into the gutters along the perimeters of the pool to be filtered, so the water isn’t stale and bacteria-ridden.
3. If you’re swimming indoors, find a pool with good ventilation.
Find an indoor pool with a high ceiling and fresh air.
4. Swim with your mouth closed
Don’t swallow pool water, and try to avoid having pool water in your mouth as much as possible (even if you spit it out).
5. Be a good pool citizen
Don’t swim if you have diarrhoea, or if you’ve just had it, to avoid unknowingly polluting the pool with more fecal matter than you already are.
And, of course, don’t relieve yourself in the pool either, convenient as it might be; educate your child on this as well.
Take a shower before swimming, preferably with soap.
By Pinky Chng, May 2016