We treat water quality to keep our swimming pools safe and clean, but there are simple things we can all do to help
- Shower and wash with soap before you swim
- Don't swim if you have or have recently had diarrhoea
- Always get out of the pool when you need to use the restroom
- Take children out of the pool for regular restroom breaks
- Wash your hands with soap after going to the toilet or changing a nappy
- Change nappies in nappy only areas
- Do not swim while sick or with open wounds
- Avoid swallowing pool water
Where do germs come from?
We all have germs on our bodies which can wash off and contaminate the pool water. We are more likely to carry germs that can make others sick when we are not feeling well. For example, when you have a stomach upset and diarrhoea there are thousands of germs in your faeces (poo) and traces on your bottom. These germs wash off and contaminate the pool when you go swimming. To keep germs out of the pool it’s important not to go swimming when you have diarrhoea.
Doesn’t chlorine kill all the germs in pool water?
Chlorine is able to kill most germs but it doesn’t happen straight away. Some germs can live in pool water for days. Without your help even the best maintained pools can spread germs.
When you have an infection, you should not swim while infectious. For example:
- Chickenpox – do not swim for a week after the rash appears
- Athlete’s foot (tinea) – do not swim until a day after treatment is started
- Diarrhoea – do not swim for two weeks after diarrhoea stops.
You can ask your GP for advice about swimming if you or your children are diagnosed with any infection.
If you or your family develop a gastrointestinal illness after swimming at a public pool, contact the pool manager so any potential outbreak can be monitored.
For more information about healthy swimming go to www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au