Pop quiz: should you bathe in a swimming pool? Absolutely not! Unfortunately, according to a new study, many people are failing this particular quiz.

As it turns out, over half of all Americans would rather hop in the pool than take a shower. Read on to learn more.

Sadly, Half of Americans Bathe in a Swimming Pool

In the heat of the summer, it’s easy to get pretty gross and sweaty. Often, people decide to hop into a pool to cool off. That goes for public pools as well as home pools. Unfortunately, that can be bad news for the quality of the pool water.

The Sachs Media Group conducted a survey to measure some specific perceptions and behaviors related to swimming pools and public health. It interviewed 3,100 American adults and the results are illuminating.

Here are a few of the relevant details from the survey:

  • The survey found that 51 percent of those surveyed report using a swimming pool as a communal bathtub. Typically, this means they essentially “bathe in a swimming pool” by doing a few laps as a substitute for taking an actual shower.
  • Additionally, nearly 64 percent of Americans report that they know pool chemicals do not eliminate the need to shower before swimming.
  • 24 percent of the participants would jump into a pool within one hour of having diarrhea

To take this further, 48 percent reported that they never shower before swimming. And if you’re not already grossed out, you should know that 40 percent of Americans admit that they’ve peed in the pool as an adult, which can lead to more germs in the water. Folks, take a shower before you hop in the water. Don’t bathe in a swimming pool.

Importance of daily baths

Protecting Yourself in the Water

So how can you keep yourself safe in the water? Well, first of all… don’t bathe in a swimming pool! As you can see, it’s not a substitute for soap and a hot shower. Leave your bathing to the bathtub. Besides your own personal health, it can be dangerous for other people in the water as well.

Now, if you’re entering a public swimming pool, take these precautions:

  • Always check on a public swimming pool’s latest inspection results. If you live in a state that published these records online, such as Florida, you can check without ever leaving the comfort of home.
  • Never step into a pool unless there is lifeguard on duty.
  • Ask the lifeguard if you can check the pool’s safety equipment.
  • Be sure to inspect any drain covers for damage. A damaged drain is dangerous. It can trap a swimmer underwater.
  • If you or a loved one is currently sick, stay away from the community pool. It’s easy to catch or spread germs at a public pool.
  • Always shower before and after entering a public pool. A clean body is considerate to other swimmers.
  • Don’t drink the water! As you can probably guess, who knows what germs could be in there?

New Research Calls for Extra Adult Supervision Near the Water - image of two kids and two adults in the water.

Finally, you should also check out this list of health departments from the Water Quality & Health Council. It offers online access to public swimming pool inspection reports. A swimming pool is a wonderful way to relax, but you should always take extra precaution before jumping in.

If you don’t see your local community or state listed, the Council advises you to contact your local health department, check on-site at the pool facility, or ask the pool’s manager directly for more information.