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Keeping Your Backyard Swimming Pool Germ Free

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By Samuetta Hill Drew

Last week we began a new summer series on backyard swimming pool safety. With the temperatures heating up, the backyard pool is the center of home activities for the entire family, close friends and oftentimes neighbors. As the homeowner, it is important for you to keep your pool germ free for everyone’s sake, including yours. So, let’s explore some safety steps that as the swimming pool owner you or your pool company should take and why.

Pool chemicals, like chlorine, are needed to protect swimmer’s health. However, mishandling pool chemicals, like with any other types of chemicals, can cause serious injuries. Pool chemicals injuries lead to about 4,500 U.S. emergency department visits each year, and one-third of these preventable injuries are in children or teens.

If you store pool chemicals at your home, take the following steps to prevent pool chemicals injuries:
• Read and follow all directions on product labels.
• Wear safety equipment – such as masks, gloves, and googles when handling chemicals. Yes, it’s an extra, but necessary step.
• Keep chemicals secure and away from children, especially curious toddlers and pets.
• You can go online and order free pool chemical safety posters.

Killing germs in your pool is an essential undertaking. Disinfection (with chlorine and bromine) and pH are the first defense against germs that cause recreational water illnesses. At the recommended levels, chlorine and bromine can kill most germs in the water within minutes.

As a backyard swimming pool owner, you should check the disinfectant (chlorine and bromine) level and pH at least twice per day. This should be done more frequently if the pool is in heavy use. These periodic checks are needed to make sure the levels are correct:
• 1-10 parts million (ppm) free chlorine or 3-8 pm bromine
• pH 7.2-7.8

If the pH is too high or too low, it can cause problems, including decreasing chlorine’s or bromine’s ability to kill germs. It can also cause skin and eye irritation in swimmers and damage pool pipes and other equipment.

Next week’s article will continue this conversation on how to keep your backyard pools germ free because Keeping an Eye on Safety is a never-ending worthwhile endeavor.