Pool Care – Avoiding RWI’s This Summer

Proper pool care is vital to minimize the chance of becoming sick after you’ve been in a swimming pool.  Recreational water illnesses, otherwise known as RWIs, are illnesses that are acquired by breathing, swallowing, or being in contact with contaminated water from pools, spas, rivers, and other bodies of water. Such illnesses can manifest in a wide variety of symptoms like gastrointestinal, ear, skin, and respiratory infections, among many others.

Common RWIs

The most commonly reported RWI is diarrhea, mostly from the use of swimming pools. On average, most people have a small amount of fecal matter on their body at any given time, which is rinsed off into the water once they enter the pool.  Therefore, those who are ill with diarrhea should not enter the pool or water park, because they can contaminate the water with millions of germs.  These diarrhea-causing germs do not have to be ingested in large amounts to cause illness.

Other kinds RWIs are mostly caused by germs that naturally thrive in the environment, particularly in water and soil. In swimming pools, if pool cleaning is not properly and regularly done (particularly in the maintenance of chlorine and chemical levels), these germs can increase their populations until they are able to cause illness to the swimmer upon contact.pool care under water

Pool Care to Prevent RWIs

Regular pool care is the best thing that you can do to stop the proliferation and spread of germs in your pool and to protect yourself and your family.

  • Maintain clear and clean pool water.

    You should clearly see the bottom of the pool at all times.

  • Ensure that your pool sides are smooth.

    It should not feel slippery or sticky.

  • You pool should have no odor.

    Expect to have a little odor from a well-chlorinated pool. When you pool has too strong a chemical smell, it might have some pool care and maintenance problems.

  • Make sure that your pool equipment is working properly.

    The pumps and filtration systems should make some noise. You should be able to hear them running.

  • Healthy swimming behaviors from the swimmers are also important.

    After all, they can be a carrier of the germs that cause the RWIs.

  • Do not use the swimming pool if you currently have diarrhea.

  • Make sure that you do not swallow swimming pool water.

    Do not even allow it to get into your mouth.

  • Shower before you swim into the pool.

    Wash your hands thoroughly after going to the toilet before heading back into the pool.

  • Get your kids to take bathroom breaks.

    Check their diapers as often as possible.

  • Change diapers away from the pool.

    Do this in the bathroom and carefully clean the changing area afterwards.

Although chlorine is used to sanitize pool water, it takes some time to be effective; chlorine does not kill all of these germs on contact. Diarrhea-causing germs that make their way into the pool can cause RWIs in under an hour and can even survive for days.

Aside from proper and regular pool care, it might be wise to contact your local pool service company if you suspect that your pool is infected with RWIs-causing germs.  They should be able to help you deal with the problem in the best and fastest way possible. The pool professionals at Pool Doctor of the Palm Beaches have extensive pool care knowledge and expertise.

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