Swimming is an excellent form of exercise. But like many activities, swimming in a pool has its downside.
Swimming in chlorinated pools, particularly indoor pools, might put kids at higher risk for developing respiratory illnesses, including asthma and hay fever.
Despite attempts to disinfect the pool, some pathogens may still lurk in the water. And research suggests that disinfectants may pose their own health hazards.
Dr. Rey Salinel, an infectious disease expert, cautioned the public that communal swimming pools and inflatable pools, could be nesting grounds for a number of bacteria such as E.coli, Salmonella, Shigella dysenteriae, cholera El Tor, and Giardia lamblia.
“You may develop sore eyes, stomach ache, vomiting and diarrhea, flu, and fungal infection from microbes that you get after swimming in these places,” Dr. Salinel said.
In addition, there is evidence that disinfectant by-products--formed when chlorinated water is mixed with microorganisms, human body fluids, cosmetics, and sunscreen--can damage your DNA and increase your risk of cancer.
Chlorine has been shown to increase the risk of developing asthma. The chlorine scent in pools causes lung irritation in swimmers because of the presence of chloramine byproducts. Chlorine produces nitrogen trichloride (a byproduct of chemical reactions between ammonia and chlorine), which is the cause of occupational asthma for indoor pool workers.
2. Legionnaires' Disease
Water and vapor facilitate the transmission of a bacterium lung disease called Legionnaires' Disease that is similar to pneumonia. The disease has a strong presence in indoor public swimming pools due to the inhaling of the bacteria in water vapor. In case you are uncertain about whether or not you have been exposed, the CDC says to look out for these signs and symptoms:
- shortness of breath
- high fever
- muscle aches
Feet exposure in a swimming facility can increase the risk of the highly contagious athlete's foot. Swimmers who have acquired this disease can easily infect others with the pieces of fungi that fall from their feet if they do not wear sandals or pat their skin after they swim.
4. Swimmer's Ear
This bacterial infection occurs in the outer ear canal that appears several days after a swim. When water stays in the ear canal for long periods of time, it allows for bacteria to grow and infect the skin.
Swimming for 40 minutes can result in cancer-causing DNA mutations. Adults who swim for 40 minutes in a chlorinated pool has a higher chance of an increased micronuclei in blood lymphocytes, which is linked with cancer risk. Experts advised that after 40 minutes of this physical activity, you become more susceptible to the chemical agent associated with cancer.
Dr. Salinel recommended that people who visit public pools or use inflatable pools should take showers before and after taking a dip.
“Wash using soap that has anti-bacterial properties to kill off these bacteria. Use it as often as possible to remain disease-free,” Dr. Salinel said
Sources: ABS-CBN News