How Dirty Are Public Pools?

How Dirty Are Public Pools?

Public pools are a great way to cool off on a hot day, but they can also be a breeding ground for germs. A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that 80% of public pools, hot tubs, and water playgrounds had health and safety violations, including excessively dirty water.

One of the biggest sources of contamination in public pools is fecal matter. The average swimmer contributes at least 0.14 grams of fecal matter to pool water — usually within the first 15 minutes of entering. This fecal matter can contain harmful bacteria, parasites, and viruses, which can cause a variety of illnesses, including diarrhea, vomiting, and skin infections.

Other sources of contamination in public pools include urine, sweat, dirt, and leaves. These substances can also harbor harmful germs, which can make you sick if you swallow or come into contact with them.

To prevent the spread of germs in public pools, it is important to follow these tips:

  • Shower before entering the pool.
  • Don’t swim if you have diarrhea or other symptoms of illness.
  • Avoid swallowing pool water.
  • Don’t share towels or personal items with other swimmers.

If you do get sick after swimming in a public pool, see a doctor right away. Early treatment can help prevent serious complications.

Here are some of the most common germs that can be found in public pools:

  • Bacteria: E. coli, Salmonella, Shigella, and Legionella are some of the most common bacteria that can be found in public pools. These bacteria can cause a variety of illnesses, including diarrhea, vomiting, and skin infections.
  • Parasites: Cryptosporidium and Giardia are two parasites that can be found in public pools. These parasites can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach cramps.
  • Viruses: Norovirus and Hepatitis A are two viruses that can be found in public pools. These viruses can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and fever.

It is important to note that not all public pools are dirty. Many pools are properly chlorinated and maintained, which helps to kill germs and keep the water clean. However, it is always a good idea to take precautions when swimming in a public pool, especially if you are concerned about getting sick.

Here are some tips for choosing a clean public pool:

  • Check the pool’s inspection report. Most public pools are inspected regularly by health officials. You can ask the pool manager for a copy of the inspection report to see if the pool has been properly maintained.
  • Look for a pool that is well-maintained. The pool should be clean and free of debris. The water should be clear and free of cloudiness.
  • Avoid pools that are crowded. The more people who are swimming in a pool, the more likely it is that the water will be contaminated.

By following these tips, you can help to reduce your risk of getting sick from a public pool. However, it is important to remember that no pool is completely safe. If you are concerned about getting sick, you may want to consider swimming in a private pool or a natural body of water.

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