Are You Swimming in a Pool of Germs?

by Pool Builders on 04-12-2011 in Articles

The swimming pool at your holiday hotel or villa is one of the most fundamental components of your summer holiday. Diving into the clear blue waters of the hotel pool to cool off and relax is an essential holiday activity. However, the water you are jumping or diving into may also contain a number of nasty germs and bugs. The most common bugs are Cryptosporidium, Giardia, E. coli and Shigella. Holidaymakers who become ill on holiday may normally put it down to something that they have eaten; however, the illness could be as a result of the water that they have been swimming in.

The germs are able to contaminate swimming pool water even if it has been treated with chlorine. Unwanted foreign substances that are found in swimming pools include; sweat, mucus, dead skin, saliva, fecal matter, make-up and suncream. Inadequate pool filtration and disinfectants contribute to the spread of the swimming pool bugs. With no internationally recognised standard of managing and regulating swimming pools and pool water it is difficult to ensure that they are free from infections. It is reckoned that up to 30 different types of bugs may exist in a swimming pool at one time. Of these, cryptosporidium and E coli can only be caused by the presence of fecal matter in the pool. Holidaymakers with diarrhea and babies without waterproof nappies are the primary cause of fecal matter in swimming pools.

How to avoid the bugs

1. Always shower before using the swimming pool as this can get rid of as much as 80% of dirt from the body. 2. Ensure that all babies and toddlers are wearing waterproof nappies before they go into the swimming pool. 3. Try to choose hotels with smaller pools as this will minimise the chance of it containing germs and bugs compared with larger pools. 4. Check to see how clear the water is. If it looks murky and cloudy then there is a good chance it is contaminated. 5. Ensure you shower and clean thoroughly at the end of the day.

What the bugs are

1. E coli - A bacteria which when it gets into parts of the body other than the intestines can lead to severe stomach illness. Young children are particularly vulnerable to this and it can lead to kidney damage.

2. Cryptosporidium - A parasite that leads to holidaymakers suffering severe diarrhoea for about two weeks.

3. Pseudomonas aeruginosa - cause vomiting and diarrhoea and affect the lungs, any open wounds and the urinary tract.

4. Acanthamoeba - an infection that can get into a holidaymakers body by cuts on the skin or scratches on the eye. This results in very painful, sore, red, swollen eyes. If left untreated it can lead to blindness.

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