It is summer, the height of swim season. Public pools are full all day and all evening. We want the pool water we swim in to be clean and safe. But achieving safe, clean water is a challenge in the hottest temperatures from June through August. Because, with that hot water, threats to our health like parasites, bacteria, mosquitoes, and the possibility of heat-related health incidents increases. This blog post addresses steps that can be taken to help avoid these health risks.
Insufficient oxygen circulation in the water, hot, cloudy weather, guests swimming when sick, and waste decomposition are a few of the many factors that can lead to several serious problems developing in a pool. The risks are most likely bacteria, parasites, foul algae growth, heat-generated illnesses, and mosquitoes and other flying insects swarming in poolside areas.
When the sun heats water to very warm or hot temperatures, germs can flourish especially in peak seasons like Spring Break or the summer swim season. Bacteria and parasites thrive in water that is too warm or hot because the chemical levels are reduced and not as effective as usual to keep swimmers safe. Warm water increases the multiplying or the dividing of bacteria, and it makes it harder to maintain the chlorine or bromine level. Pool water that is too warm/hot burns through chlorine much faster. Bromine and Chlorine kill most germs within minutes, but if the levels of these chemicals are low because of sizzling summer temperatures, these chemicals cannot be as active and effective at protecting against pool water threats. The CDC reports that every year during the summer, actual outbreaks of pathogens like Cryptosporidium (parasites) and Legionella (bacteria) result in thousands of individual cases requiring treatment. The busiest time for epidemics is from June through August of each year.
Unusually warm or hot water can also increase the chances of heat-related illnesses like heat stroke for swimmers, even in a pool. Swimmers forget to hydrate often and take periodic breaks in the shade or under a fan, or even in air-conditioned rooms. Add to these problems, very warm or hot pool water, and you have the perfect set up for a heat-related illness.
Several steps will help minimize the possibility of all of these risks. The first is not up to the swimmer but is the responsibility of the owner or manager of the public pool – pool maintenance.
- Maintenance staff must be thoroughly trained to test the chlorine or bromine levels of the water often during the hot summer months and promptly adjust the water chemistry as needed.
- Where necessary, officials must close a public pool until there is no longer a health threat.
Swimmers should never enter a public pool when they are sick with diarrhea. Yes, it does happen. People will swim when ill, and this introduces parasites in the pool water that during the hottest weather, pool chemicals cannot mitigate. Swimmers can take these steps to stay safe and keep other swimmers safe:
- Do not swim while you are sick to protect others.
- Be observant of the apparent health of other swimmers around you. If you see something that is a direct health concern, get out of the pool.
- Check the score (or health) of the specific public pool you plan to visit on your state and local health department websites before swimming. If the score is low, don’t go swimming in that particular pool on that day.
- Keep kids from swallowing pool water. It is a next to impossible task, but informing them of the risks associated with ingesting pool water may increase their awareness and improve their chances of avoiding swimming health risks.
Preventing heat stroke is the other challenge. Sunning in or beside the pool, swimming or playing in the pool all carry the risk of heat-related illness if not properly managed. Hot pool water temperature increases the chances of a heat-related incident. To help avoid being too hot while swimming in water that is too warm or hot:
- Periodically take breaks to sit in the shade or air-conditioned areas.
- Stay hydrated. Just because you are in pool water, doesn’t eliminate the need to drink lots of fluids frequently throughout the day.
- If you manage a pool, shop ideas to cool your pool water. Cooler pool water will improve the health of the water, and reduce the chances of heat-related illness for your guest swimmers.
One piece of equipment that has proven effective to help maintain pool water are Pool Coolers. These water circulation/water cooling tools operate on the evaporation and heat transfer principle. The mist generated helps to instantly create a cooling zone of up to 12-degrees F as it evaporates as a result of the sun’s heat. The Pool Cooler dramatically agitates high volumes of water at the surface to maximize exposure of water to the air for valuable gas exchange, boosting oxygen levels in the water to improve the health of the water. Chlorine levels stay at appropriate levels, so the threats of foul algae growth, parasites, and bacteria in the pool, and disease-carrying mosquitoes around the poolside will reduce. The possibility of heat-related illness for swimmers will also decrease.
A Commercial Pool Cooler is a proven, reliable solution for hotel, municipal, health club, athletic training, and large residential pools. If you are interested in reading more about pool water safety, here is a link to CDC articles on healthy and safe swimming. We wish you all a happy, and incident-free 2018 swim season. We are here to help you with your pool requirements when you are ready.
Mist Cooling Inc Toll-Free 888.493.5967 | Houston Area 281.633.0109 | firstname.lastname@example.org