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Backyard Pool Care and a Safe Summer

By Samuetta Hill Drew

Last week we began a series about how to help prevent germs in your backyard swimming pools. The article last week highlighted the recommended chemical mixtures to help safeguard homeowners on this issue.

Now we are going to look into what are some of the reasons behind possible germs infecting your backyard swimming pool. A swimming pool with infected water becomes a health safety concern versus a place for laughter and fun. This infected water in your pool can make you and your family sick!

Recreational water illnesses are “infections caused by germs that can survive and/or grow in swimming pools, hot tubs, oceans, lakes and rivers – as well as in the water at water parks and splash pads.” This is why proper cleaning and pool maintenance is crucial to keeping your backyard swimming pool safe and germ free.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says most recreational water illnesses are caused by the water contamination that occurs when someone who is ill and carrying germs enters a pool. In other cases, the swimming pool contamination is caused by germs that naturally live in water which grow to levels that can cause an infection.

Most common types of recreational water illnesses are:

–Diarrheal infections

–Skin infections such as a “hot tub rash”

–Swimmer’s ear

–Respiratory infections caused by breathing in a mist of germs, usually while in a hot tub

So, which is the most commonly reported recreational water illness – diarrhea. This is why it is essential that while enjoying your pool you do not allow anyone sick, especially with diarrhea, to enter the water. Just one diarrheal incident in the water can release millions of diarrhea-causing germs like Cryptosporidium, Giardia, Shigella, Norovirus or E. coli. These germs can make other swimmers sick if they swallow just a mouthful of the contaminated water.  Most of these germs are killed within minutes by chlorine or bromine at the recommended levels except Cryptosporidium.

While this topic may appear scary or offensive, Keeping an Eye on Safety while swimming in your backyard pool is the responsibility of the homeowner and should be taken seriously regardless of the topic. Proper pool maintenance significantly lowers anyone’s risk of getting sick while swimming.