All Fun And No Germs In The Pool This Summer

Published: Thu 22 Dec 2022 02:11 PM
Te Mana Ora l Community and Public Health are urging swimmers to do their bit to stop bugs and infections from getting into pools.
Did you know germs can spread through the water in pools and spas and cause swimming-related illnesses? Swimming pools are an ideal breeding ground for serious gastro bugs. Although chlorine works by killing off most bacteria, and viruses, Cryptosporidium (commonly known simply as crypto) and Giardia are particularly resistant to the standard chlorine dosages you find in most pools.
Most people who contract crypto and other gastro infections experience symptoms such as watery diarrhoea, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, and fever. Others, who have weakened immune systems, can develop a serious, chronic, and sometimes fatal illness.
“We all share the water we swim and play in, so it is important to maintain swimming hygiene for the health and safety of you, your tamariki, and whānau,” says Dr Matthew Reid, Canterbury Medical Officer of Health, Te Whatu Ora, National Public Health Service.
“You can get sick if you swallow or have contact with contaminated pool water. So if you have had a recent gastro infection and haven’t fully recovered from the illness, please stay away from pools and spas for at least two weeks after you feel better.
“These symptoms can occur on and off for weeks – which is why we are asking people to respect a stand-down period of two weeks after their symptoms subside, during which they should avoid swimming in pools or sharing a spa. This is to ensure they have fully recovered and are no longer infectious.
“We want to raise awareness on how these bugs are transmitted in community pools so that people can follow some simple advice to help limit the spread,” said Dr Reid.
The key things to remember if you have had a serious gastro bug are:Stay away from pools and spas for at least two weeks after you feel betterYou wouldn’t want to get into a dirty pool so even if you haven’t been ill - always shower before entering the poolRemember to go to the toilet before you swim, to avoid unwanted accidents in the pool. Take children for regular toilet breaks as needed.Report any ‘code browns’ immediately – community pool operators can clean as needed and apply a stronger dose of chlorine to the area to make it safer.

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