NSW Health advises swimmers and swimming pool owners to ensure pools don't cause disease outbreaks this summer by doing their bit to keep pools healthy.
'Crypto' can survive in a swimming pool for weeks thereby infecting swimmers and causing large disease outbreaks. It is therefore vital that swimmers don't introduce the bug into pools in the first place.
Folliculitus and ear infections which are caused by Pseudomonas aeruginosa. This organism is responsible for skin (follicle) and mucous membrane infections and ear infections, particularly in kids, which tend to be difficult to treat. The organism proliferates very quickly in pools when the water temperature is greater than 26C and when disinfection levels are not maintained at all times. This organism also causes outbreaks in heated spa pools.
Legionella can also be a problem in poorly maintained heated spa pools. Home heated spa pools are much more popular these days.
The good news is that most of these germs are killed by chlorine, the most common chemical used to disinfect pool water. Giardia is a protozoa organism that can survive for some time in chlorinated pool water. However, cryptosporidium, also a protozoa, is resistant to chlorine and is so small in size that it can slip through pool filters.
Pool owners should double check that their pools are correctly maintained and clean throughout summer. If a pool's chlorine, pH levels or other disinfection system are not maintained properly, the chemicals cannot do their job properly. It is therefore crucial for pool owners to regularly adjust chemicals when needed. Pool filters should also be carefully maintained to ensure they are working properly.
Unfortunately even the best maintained pools and chemicals alone won't keep a pool safe. A person who has had recent diarrhoea can easily contaminate a backyard swimming pool or local community pool.
There are some key things that everyone can do to keep their backyard pool and their local community pool healthy:
Parents have a key role to play in ensuring pools remain safe for everyone by ensuring that non-toilet trained children do not have toileting accidents in the pool.
Young children and others who are likely to have toileting accidents should avoid sharing pools with others. Parents with young children should make use of disposable 'swimming' nappies which are available from most supermarkets or they can put their babies and young children into tight fitting swimmers. However swimming nappies should not replace regular bathroom breaks. Check the nappy regularly and change when required.
Parents can also do the following things to avoid pool contamination:
Swimming Pools and Spa Pools
For further information contact your Public Health Unit. In NSW call 1300 066 055 to talk to your local Public Health Unit