Having a nice, refreshing swim is one of the best ways to enjoy a hot summer day, but swimming pools may not be as innocent as they appear. Researchers keep warning us about the dangers of swimming pools and how they could be the ideal places for bacteria to dwell.
According to an official report released by the Centers for Disease Control on June 26, the number of outbreaks that happen in swimming pools is increasing and one can catch a serious infection just by going into the water for a swim.
A lot of Americans love to swim, which is why there are more than 10 million residential swimming pools and approximately 300,000 public pools all across the United States. But the experts warn us that outbreaks caused by the swimming pool water are increasing at an alarming rate. An outbreak is when two or more individuals experience symptoms like gastrointestinal distress, diarrhea or bloating, after being in the same place at the same time.
The recent report suggests that in 2011 and 2012, there were 90 outbreaks in swimming pools in 32 states and Puerto Rico. Following these outbreaks, there were 1,788 people who experience health problems, 95 were hospitalized, and one died.
Although chlorine used for treating the water can kill off bacteria like E.coli in a matter of minutes, swimming pools are not much safer than ponds, lakes or the beach when it comes to illnesses that are water-borne.
According to the recent report, 69 of the 90 swimming pools where an outbreak occurred had been treated with chlorine or bromine. Most of the outbreaks occur between June and August, when is the most agglomerated swimming season. However, the study reveals that outbreaks can also occur between September and May, most of them in hotel swimming pools. Some of the outbreaks occurred in spas, which means their origin comes from hot tubs.
The experts said that most of these outbreaks were caused by a Cryptosporidium, a type of bacteria that can survive in treated swimming pools for more about 10 days. The report suggests that this bacteria was responsible for half of the outbreaks. However, outbreaks caused by the Cryptosporidium did not become a serious issue until 1988.
In order to avoid contracting any illnesses from swimming pools, we must not swallow any water. Also, it’s very important not to go to public pools if one suffers from diarrhea; always shower before going in the water, and never urinate in the pool.
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