To be blunt, most recreational water illnesses in pools are caused by human poop in the water. Just one diarrheal incident from a child can release enough germs into the water that swallowing a mouthful can cause diarrhea lasting anywhere from a couple of days to two to three weeks.
Some germs can last hours or days, even in a properly chlorinated pool. To help protect yourself and other swimmers from germs, there are simple and effective steps all pool swimmers can take each time they swim.
- Don’t swim when you have diarrhea. Keep children with diarrhea out of the water.
- If possible, shower with soap before you start swimming, and take a rinse shower each time you return to the water.
- Take bathroom breaks every hour.
- Wash your hands after using the toilet or changing diapers.
- Don’t change diapers poolside - use the restroom.
- Don’t swallow the water you swim in.
Every year, the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) investigates hundreds of cases of recreational water illnesses (RWIs). May 20 through 26 is Recreational Water Illness and Injury Prevention Week. Click here to learn more about healthy swimming.
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