Waushara County Health News

Make a Healthy Splash: Share the Fun, Not the Germs

Have your eyes ever started to sting and turn red when you were swimming in a pool? Did you think it was because of the chlorine in the water? Have you ever walked into an indoor pool area, gotten a whiff of a strong chemical smell, and thought, “Wow, there’s a lot of chlorine in the pool?” It’s actually not the chlorine. It’s certain types of chloramines, or what you get when chlorine combines with what comes out of or washes off of swimmers’ bodies. These chloramines irritate the eyes and respiratory tract and can even aggravate asthma and cause a strong chemical smell at indoor pools. 

We each play a role in preventing illnesses, caused by germs in the water we share and swim in, and injuries, such as drowning or those caused by mishandling pool chemicals. 

To help prevent chloramines from forming and to protect your health and the health of your family and friends, here are a few simple and effective steps all of us can take each time we swim: 

•Stay out of the water if you have diarrhea. 

•Shower before you get in the water.

•Don’t pee or poop in the water.

•Don’t swallow the water. 

Every hour—everyone out! 

•Take kids on bathroom breaks. 

•Check diapers, and change them in a bathroom or diaper changing area—not poolside—to keep germs away from the pool. 

•Reapply sunscreen. 

•Drink plenty of fluids.

Natural bodies of waters, like lakes and ponds, contain microorganisms regardless of how clean or clear the water looks. Sources include rain and agricultural runoff, animal excrements, and faulty septic systems.