hygiene and health

Hygiene and Health

Are you planning to swim in a backyard or public pool this summer?

Regardless of the type of pool you are contemplating immersing yourself in when the temperatures soar, a basic question is whether pool swimming will be safe this summer. We think it comes down to two issues, pool water quality and navigating crowds.


Issue #1: Swimming Pool Water Quality

The CDC says that “There is no evidence that COVID-19 can spread to people through the water in pools, hot tubs, spas, or water areas. Proper operation and disinfection (including disinfection with chlorine and bromine2) of these facilities should inactivate the virus in water.” This is great news with only one caveat, and that is proper pool operation and disinfection.

CDC guidelines recommend testing the chlorine level and pH of pool water at least twice per day, and more often during heavy use. But a recent survey of over 2,100 American adults found that 23% of pool owners do not test chlorine and pH more often than once every two weeks. Bottom line: if you want to ensure COVID-19 and other waterborne pathogens cannot be transmitted in pool water, make sure someone is testing that water frequently!


Issue #2: Navigating Crowds at Swimming Pools

Of course, social distancing should not be necessary if you are using your backyard pool with the family members with whom you live.

At a public pool, however, CDC goes so far as to suggest pool patrons and staff:

  • Wear face masks when not in the water
  • Clean and then disinfect frequently touched surfaces (e.g., handrails, slides, and climbing/playing structures) daily
  • Clean and then disinfect shared objects (e.g., lounge chairs, table tops, pool noodles, kickboards) each time they are used.
  • Equipment that is meant to come in contact with the face (e.g., goggles, nose clips, and snorkels) should not be shared.

Remember that you should only ease restrictions at your backyard pool if you are swimming with your household family members. Inviting others to your backyard pool means distancing, face masks, and surface disinfection measures are warranted.


Additional Information

The following articles come from the Water Quality and Health Council.

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