For today’s blog, let’s take a look at what drinking pool water could mean for your health. Swimming provides endless fun on a hot day. That said, the water in the swimming pool can also be a hazard to your health! Whether you’re doing laps or your kids are splashing around in the pool, accidentally ingesting a small amount pool water is always a possibility.
When large amounts of pool water are swallowed, it can cause unfortunate health issues.
Too Much Chlorine
Chlorine is one major culprit for illnesses related to drinking pool water. This common pool chemical is used to disinfect the water from contaminants. It accomplishes this by killing bacteria such as E. coli and parasites. Chlorine is also one of the things that keep your pool water looking so clear. All of this is great, unless too much of the chlorine is ingested.
Swallowing a small amount isn’t so bad; however, it is quite easy to swallow too much of this chlorinated water just by swimming or playing in the water. Drinking pool water tends to be more of a problem for kids. Children are often more likely than adults to swallow too much of this harmful substance. Therefore, swimmers – and especially parents of children who enjoy swimming – should be aware of the warning signs of chlorine poisoning. Symptoms may include digestive distress similar to a stomach bug, vomiting, difficulty breathing, and prolonged coughing. If you notice these signs, seek medical attention.
The risk of chlorine poisoning lessens in a well-maintained pool. Most pools have about 4 ppm of chlorine. This can be easily measured with pool water test strips. Typically, these strips evaluate chlorine, pH and acidity levels in your pool water. We’ve written about these before in our blog post about public swimming pools.
Prevent Illness From Drinking Pool Water
The best way to prevent chlorine poisoning and secondary drowning is through active supervision. We’ve covered this important topic in the past, but it is a critical step for ensuring safety near the water. Teaching kids to avoid drinking or ingesting pool water, as well as how to survive the threat of drowning can truly save their life. However, it is important for adults to be informed in addition to their children.
Adults should be sure to keep a careful eye on their swimming children, and should become CPR-certified in case of an emergency. Lastly, adults should have all pertinent emergency numbers handy. If a child is experiencing any of the symptoms above, they should be taken to an emergency room for proper care.