The CDC Issues A Warning About Some Of The Disgusting Germs And Parasites Lurking In Swimming Pools

Many Americans don't know what they are swimming in when they enjoy a day at the pool.

A woman swims in the pool.
Survivor / Pixabay

Many Americans don't know what they are swimming in when they enjoy a day at the pool.

Enjoying a day at the local pool is usually a pretty common summer activity for most Americans. Some may have pools within their neighborhoods, while others might visit the local YMCA or fitness center for a swim. Of course, it’s long been known that public pools are hardly the most sanitary places in the world.

Even though chlorine is used to kill the germs that are bound to be floating around with so many people soaking in the same water, there are still likely a lot of pretty disgusting things lurking that most don’t know about. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recently issued a warning about some of the nasty and highly dangerous parasites and germs that can exist in local pools, according to Today.

A parasite called cryptosporidium, often referred to as crypto, is one of the most concerning parasites in public pools. Crypto can often resist the power of chlorine and can cause serious illness. Those infected by this parasite may experience watery diarrhea for as long as three weeks. A recent report released by the CDC revealed that there were over 7,000 cases of crypto outbreaks in the United States from 2009-2017.

Those that frequently go swimming in public schools might occasionally notice that their eyes look red and bloodshot when they get out. It’s been commonly thought that this redness is not a big deal, and just the effect of exposure to chlorine. The reality is a lot more disgusting, according to Michele Hlavsa, chief of the CDC’s healthy swimming program. Hlavsa revealed that this often happens because someone has gone to the restroom in the pool.

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“The nitrogen in the urine combines with the chlorine and it forms what’s known as chloramine and it’s actually chloramine that causes the red eyes. It’s chlorine mixed with poop and sweat and a lot of other things we bring into the water with us. It’s not chlorine’s job to clean pee from a swimming pool. Its plate is full with E. coli and other germs. Once people start adding pee, poop, sweat and dirt to the equation, it starts to try to tackle those instead, leaving it with little energy for anything else.”

The disgusting truth about what is actually present in swimming pools may cause one to think twice before diving in. However, it is possible to safely enjoy the pool. Don’t swallow the water and get out immediately if a child has gone to the bathroom in the water. Most importantly, make sure chlorine levels are where they’re supposed to be.