I read an article on-line this morning about germs in public pools, made me wish we had our own pool in our backyard instead of a community pool in our complex.

As summer is almost here and most of us will be using the pool, I wanted to share these stats with you.  It’s quite alarming.

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A recent poll was conducted if people use the pool as a toilet, the outcome was in five Americans admits to urinating in public pools AND seven out of 10 swimmers reportedly don’t rinse off or shower before jumping in the pool, making for a potent stew of other people’s sweat, cosmetics, feces, and other dirty stuff. Harmful germs ranging from Giardia, E. coli, and cryptosporidium parasites have all been shown to spread in public pools.
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Now I know in the back of my head this happened but I try not to think about it because I am a germ freak. We just spent several days in the pool over the weekend too and I try to remind myself that there is chlorine in the pool and it disinfects everything but does it?
Kind of………. If pool operators maintain proper chlorine and pH levels, most waterborne germs are killed on contact. Too much chlorine is bad for you, anyway.  And contrary to popular belief, it isn’t chlorine itself that irritates eyes: It’s when chlorine comes into contact with high levels of contaminants that swimmers experience eye redness and the water begins emitting a “strong chemical smell,” says Michele Hlvasa, chief of the CDC‘s Healthy Swimming Program. An ideal swimming pool should be odorless, as chlorine only really smells when it’s interacting with contaminants. If the chlorine is pungent, you might want to cool off elsewhere.
54 percent of public pools tested by the WQHC last year failed to provide the proper chlorine levels and 47 got low marks for pH balance. You can blame poor pool maintenance, but frequent urinators don’t help.

Signs to look for in pools you shouldn’t swim in
To find out of your pool is safe, look for some tell-tale signs of bacteria.

Check if you see the bottom of the pool before getting in. “If a pool is clear it’s likely very clean and balanced, but if it’s it cloudy or the sides are slimy, those are signs that bacteria is prevalent and the pool isn’t filtering out germs the way it should.”

Hyper-vigilant swimmers can also purchase pool test strips at any drug store and do their own scientific assessment. Just crack one open and dip it in the pool and you’ll be able to tell right away if the pool is clean. (I am going to purchase these myself)

Another signal it’s time to get out of the pool: burning, stinging eyes. Although it’s not seriously harmful, when urine combines with chlorine it becomes an irritant.

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