Swimming Pools Are Filled With Infectious Micro-Organisms; Chlorine May Produce Harmful By-Products

By Diane Ting, Parent Herald February 08, 04:30 am
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Swimming pools contain many infectious bugs that use water to transfer to new hosts. Despite attempts to disinfect pools, many parasites may still lurk in the water posing many potential health hazards.

Many of the bugs found in pools and health spas come from gastrointestinal tracts and then arrive by fecal contamination or can be washed off from a dirty anus. These tiny, single-cell parasites called Cryptosporidium and Giardia are actually the leading cause of pool-related gastroenteritis worldwide and are particularly suited to waterborne transmission due to their resistance to chlorine.

Unfortunately, illness-inducing micro-organisms often use water to transport to new hosts. The problem also lies in that many waterborne outbreaks are not properly identified.

Fewer than 10 percent of sick people go to their doctor while most of them do not submit their samples for laboratory testing. In addition, organisms are extremely difficult to detect in water as they might have disappeared by the time the investigation takes place.

A small amount of contaminated fecal can be enough to infect many swimmers. These parasites can cause diarrhea, dehydration, abdominal pain, fever, weight loss, nausea and vomiting.

Other types of virus and bacteria including E. coli may also cause harm to the body. Fortunately, proper chlorination is the most popular and relatively cheap method to kill these bacterial and viral parasites.

Chlorine itself is an irritant, which is why pool owners must limit the amount of chlorine they put in the water. However, a strong smell of chlorine is not a good thing as the strong odor is due to chloramines.

Chloramines are a by-product of a chemical reaction between human sweat and urine and chlorine and nitrogen. Other agents commonly found in swimming pools that can cause harmful by-products include saliva, hair, skin participants, cosmetics and sunscreens.

"If you can smell the chlorine in the pool environment, there too much of it," according to researchers Brent S. Rushall and Larry Weisenthal. A well-managed pool should not have any odor, as reported by Parenting Science.

Recent studies show that most pools have at least one accidental fecal release every week throughout the summer. Hydrotherapy pools, on the other hand, might experience such accidents daily, according to Daily Mail.

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