What you should avoid when swimming in a pool

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Some surprising, downright disgusting findings about the very pools you and your family likely swim in during the summer. Dispelling the myths by giving you a shower of information to keep you safe. The first thing you likely notice when you get near a pool is the smell of chlorine. Most believe the strong scent means powerful chemicals are swimming in the water combatting bacteria. Wrong!
Dr. Stephen Sokalski, chief infectious disease, Advocate Christ Medical Center: “Generally the concentration of chlorine that is used doesn’t have that strong odor.”
The odor is actually due to a chemical reaction. It can happen in a matter of minutes … contaminants like urine, feces, sweat and dirt react with the chlorine. The combination causes the heavy chemical smell. So if you get a whiff of what you think is chlorine – run, don’t swim.
Dr. Stephen Sokalski says, “The CDC looks at it as an indication the pool is not being properly maintained.” In fact pool infections have been rising year after year. And you could suffer the consequences. Swimming in filth and stench takes a toll on the body, leading to red eyes, rash and diarrhea. “They don’t usually think about the possibility they can get a contagious disease from the pool or that they can be contributing a contagious disease to the pool,” says Dr. Stephen Sokalski.
Cryptosporidium, norovirus, giardia and shigella are all organisms that can be picked up in a pool. So now that it’s finally warm enough to make a splash, a few tips:
Take a shower before entering and after leaving the pool
Take young children to the bathroom every hour
Don’t change diapers near the pool
If you or your child are suffering from diarrhea, don’t go swimming for at least two weeks
Avoid swallowing pool water
Wear goggles and a nose plug
If you notice a heavy chlorine smell, you may want to find a different swimming pool. If you do think your child has been exposed to a bacteria in the pool, at the first sign of symptoms, call the pediatrician.

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