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4 Unexpected Health Risks That Come With Swimming

swimming pool

Sadly, summer is almost over. There is plenty of temptation to head back into your swimming pool for one last dip. Even though swimming is a great way to get outside and exercise, there are some dangers of being in the water that are pretty unusual. Here are some unexpected risks of being in the water every swimmer should know.

While you’re reading the list, think about steps you can take over the fall to make your swimming pool safer for all the summers yet to come.

1. Contact Lenses and Eye infections
While many contact lens users feel it is more convenient to wear their contacts in the pool, doctors are now warning of the potential eye infections that can happen while wearing them in the water. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released a report showing that out of the 1,000 contact-lens related infections studied between 2005 and 2015, 0.9% were due to someone wearing their lenses while swimming. So invest in a pair of prescription sunglasses and you’ll have nothing to worry about.

2. Dirty Water
Even though pools are routinely treated with chlorine and other disinfecting agents (or they’re supposed to be, anyway), poorly maintained pools are are still a huge threat. In fact, a 2013 CDC report found that 58% of tested public pools were found to have high levels of E.coli bacteria, which mostly came from fecal matter.

That’s gross, but here’s something even grosser:

If ingested, E.coli can cause the stomach flu and urinary tract infections. So if you see that your pool has a green tint, or the bottom feels slippery, chances are it needs to be treated and cleaned before you can get back in.

3. Over-chlorinated water
Just as too little chlorine can be dangerous, too much chlorine in your pool can cause a bunch of health risks. There have been studies done linking swimming pool chlorine to asthma, the erosion of tooth enamel, and some forms of cancer. While the risk of these ailments are pretty small, they are still significant and should be taken seriously.

4. Drowning
Drowning might seem like an expected health risk of swimming pools, but far too many residential pool owners underestimate the risks of drowning. Unattended children and pets can easily fall into a pool, and if they can’t easily get back out on their own, then a fatal accident can occur in mere minutes.

Drowning happens more than one might think, too. Between 2005 and 2009, there were an average 3,533 fatal unintentional drownings annually in the United States. This averages to about 10 deaths per day that are completely preventable. Installing swimming pool gates, pool safety covers, and pool nets is a great way to ensure no one gets in the pool unsupervised or in unsafe conditions.

For the off season when you aren’t keeping a close eye on your pool, these basic pool safety devices are a lifesaver.

So go ahead and enjoy those last fleeting days of summer, but stay diligent to the risks your pool brings to the table.

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