Choose the right swimming pool for a healthy way to cool off

As the mercury rises and you start spending more time outside… whether it’s weeding your flowerbeds, laying mulch, trimming hedges, or mowing the lawn… the one thing that may get you through those hours is the thought of taking a refreshing dip in the swimming pool afterwards.

Swimming pools provide a great way for you to stay both active AND cool in summertime – especially if you’re fortunate to have one in your own backyard.

But if you visit a public swimming pool, a new report will make you think twice about going.

According to a recent CDC report, 80 per cent of pools inspected by public health officials had at least one serious violation. And on top of that, one out of every eight of those pools had violations so severe they needed to be closed … IMMEDIATELY!

You might be relieved to hear that the most common reason for public swimming pool closures is usually improper pH balance – but clearly, it’s a problem that’s serious enough to take a pool out of commission until its balance is restored.

But if you’ve ever taken care of a pool of your own, you know how important it is to test the pH with those handy test strips… sometimes as much as twice a day.

If the pH isn’t in an ideal range, you could be coming up for air with bloodshot eyes… a skin irritation… or worse. Chlorine needs the pH to be just right in order to kill any microorganisms in the water.

But this shouldn’t scare you away from public pools or swimming in general. Many public pools are just fine – and if the sign reads “OPEN,” there’s no reason to believe you shouldn’t head on in – as long as there’s a lifeguard on duty.

If the idea of a “public” swimming pool gives you the shivers, your best bet may be to visit a leisure center or a gym nearby that requires membership. Those pools are generally more well-cared-for and tightly controlled – and they’ll often give you the choice between taking a lazy dip, swimming laps, or joining a water aerobics class.

Whenever and wherever you decide to take the plunge, rinse yourself off before and scrub yourself with soap after you swim. You’ll keep the pool cleaner, and you won’t take anything dangerous home with you.

If you like to take a quick soak to relax those tired muscles, you should know that the same principles apply to hot tubs, Jacuzzis, or any kind of steaming, bubbly whirlpool. They’re not hot enough to kill off most germs, and they’re treated with chlorine just like the cold pools… so it’s important to keep their pH balanced as well.

Don’t be shy about asking the staff when the last time was they checked the pH balance. And if they don’t know, ask them to test it before you dip even one toe in.

Wishing you the best of health,

Dr. Glenn S. Rothfeld
Editor
Nutrition & Healing
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Sources:

Thousands of public pools, hot tubs closed due to serious violations, cdc.gov/media/releases/2016/p0519-public-pools.html

Pool Safely, poolsafely.gov/

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