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10 Pool And Hot Tub Facts You’ll Wish You Never Read
When you’ve at last secured a coveted lounge chair at the busy public pool or dipped your toes into a hot tub, the last thing you want to think about are germs and bodily secretions — but what if it makes all the difference in preserving your health? The more crowded public pools and hot tubs are, the most dangerous they can become. While most of us make it to the pool and back unscathed, it’s important to arm ourselves with knowledge to stave off rare infections and all-around gross encounters. Enjoy your afternoon in the pool, but first, take a look at these gross little-known facts about
what lurks in the water.
Hot tubs can help spread toxic shock syndrome. It’s a very rare occurrence, but according to Cosmopolitan, hot tubs with poorly maintained chlorine can put you at risk for infection. If someone who is a carrier of the bacteria that cause toxic shock syndrome spends some time in the hot tub before you get in, the bacteria can enter your system through cuts or scrapes.
Swimming pools can give you diarrhea. According to the CDC, pools are often home to cryptosporidium, a chlorine-resistant parasite that can live in pool water for up to 10 days and cause vomiting and diarrhea. Swimmers with diarrhea can bring it into the pool with them and infect others. From 2011-2012, the illness impacted almost 1,800 people, and 95 of them were taken to the hospital. Another diarrhea-causing parasite, the chlorine-resistant Giardia, can also be spread through pools, especially when a swimmer swallows contaminated water.
Hot tubs increase your risk of heat stroke, especially after drinking alcohol. This one may seem obvious, as hot tubs can drive up your body temperature, but this risk becomes even higher if you’ve had a Mai Tai or two before taking a dip. Cosmopolitan reports that alcohol can speed up dehydration and a buzz can make it harder for you to pick up on your body’s warnings that something isn’t right
Open wounds can attract bacteria. This one is probably common knowledge to most pool-goers, but just in case – the CDC warns that dangerous bacteria can enter the body through an open wound, and the risk of spreading bacteria to other swimmers also exists. As most of us know, Band-aids aren’t allowed in the pool either, so if your cut is an open sore that can’t go uncovered, sit swimming out. It’s worth avoiding a serious illness or infection.
Herpes can spread in hot tubs. According to the CDC, in very rare cases, hot tub loungers may be able to contract genital herpes if another lounger
is experiencing an outbreak.
Those burning eyes are caused by sweat, not chlorine. Those burning, red eyes you dreaded on pool days as a kid? They have a much more disgusting culprit than you thought. As Dr. Michael J. Beach of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told a Pittsburgh news station: “Chlorine binds with all the things it’s trying to kill from your bodies, and it forms these chemical irritants. That’s what’s stinging your eyes. It’s the chlorine binding to the urine and sweat.”
Lung issues lurk. What doctors call “hot tub lung,” caused by bacteria called Nontuberculous mycobacteria, can appear in a hot tub’s bubbly mist and give you a cough and fever when inhaled. Another hot tub risk is Legionnaire’s disease, a serious form of pneumonia.
Pool water does not change color when a fellow swimmer urinates. Ever hear that rumor growing up that when someone relieves themselves in the pool, a dye activates to change the water’s color? According to Dr. Beach, that’s a big myth, propagated to scare people out of peeing in the pool. Let’s hope it did its job!
Feces abound. The CDC has reported that the average pool goer contributes approximately .14 grams of fecal matter into the pool – at least. This can increase the risk of E. coli and other harmful ailments. Rinsing with soap and water before taking a dip helps prevent this.
Skin infections are easy to contract. Molluscum, a highly contagious skin infection that consists of itchy bumps, can be caught by using damp towels or other surfaces that have been previously used by an infected person. A common condition contracted in hot tubs is Pseudomona Folliculitis, a frequently antiobiotic-
resistant skin infection that also produces itchy, red bumps. Thankfully, it often heals on its own in less than 10 days.