Why you may want to think critically about that gross pool survey

Simple Health

AUSTIN (NBC/ KXAN) — A new survey finds 40 percent of adults admit they’ve gone to the bathroom in a swimming pool. While that sounds gross, it’s also important to understand the background of the study.

Americans will soon head to the pool as Memorial Day weekend marks the start of the summer swimming season, but the survey from the Water Quality & Health Council finds that many knowingly contribute to making pools dirty — a practice that can lead to bad pool chemistry for everyone in the water.

The survey found that more than half of Americans reported using a swimming pool as a substitute for showering or using the pool to rinse off after exercise or yard work.

Worse still, 24 percent of Americans said they would go in a swimming pool within one hour of having diarrhea, and 48 percent reported they never shower before swimming.

However, while these survey results are enough to make most of us stop swimming, there’s reason to hit the pause button while taking in survey results like this one.

The Water Quality & Health Council is sponsored by the Chlorine Chemistry Division of the American Chemistry Council, according to a report by NPR. That group is a trade group for the chlorine industry which is probably as concerned about the rise of saltwater pools (which use less chlorine), as gas companies are about electric cars, the report says. It’s worth noting in any survey promoted by advocacy groups, the questions can be used to tilt results. 

Tips for Swimming Hygiene 

So, what should you do with all that information? Proper swimming hygiene is still very important and the Center for Disease Control has some tips to make sure people stay clean and healthy while enjoying summer pool time. 

  • Keep pee, poop, sweat and dirt out of the water: Stay out of the water if you have diarrhea, shower before you get in, don’t pee or poop in the water and don’t swallow the water. 
  • Every hour, everyone out! Get everyone out of the water to take bathroom breaks and check babies’ diapers. Reapply sunscreen and drink plenty of fluids. 
  • Check the chemicals: Most superstores, hardware stores and pool-supply stores sell pool test strips. Check the pH and chlorine levels in the water 

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