Swimming Pools Harbor Much More than Water - MumsVillage

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Swimming Pools Harbor Much More than Water

It’s the hot season yet again. The weather is ripe for outdoor fun. Many will be looking for publicly accessible places to cool off, not least communal swimming pools in entertainment spots and hotels.  


Well, go ahead and dip yourself into some cool waters. But you would be wise to sit back and contemplate on some sobering findings about the safety of public swimming pools. An inspection report in a not too far locale revealed that nearly 80% of public aquatic venues – including pools, hot tubs and water playgrounds – violated several safety precautions. In fact, some of the inspected places were mandated to close immediately due to health and safety concerns.


What kind of safety issues are we talking about? Pools must be maintained at certain levels of acidity and alkalinity (referred to as pH levels). Either extreme becomes hazardous. Disinfectant levels must also be optimized, otherwise you will end up with skin burns or even poisoning. Safety equipment and trained lifeguards are also a must to negate the risk of drowning. Am not aware of any regular licensing inspections on all the aquatic entertainment venues locally, but there is not much reason to think that random inspections would yield any better scores on health and safety.


You can take a few precautions to ensure your safety, and that of your family, as you dive into cool waters. Check with the proprietors about the steps they have put together for health and safety. If you have reason to doubt them, check things out yourself. Get some pH strips from a pharmacy store to quickly and discreetly check the water’s pH and chlorine levels. Look around for an on-duty lifeguard. Make a judgment on the pool’s general cleanliness, and that the drain at the bottom is visible.


Once satisfied, go ahead and enjoy the waters. If not, look for another enjoyable sport. Shower before getting in, it’s best to wash off all your impurities prior to sharing a pool. Remember to shower again after your swim to wash off all the irritants from your skin. Wear goggles to safeguard your eyes. Remember that what turns your eyes red is lots of other people’s pee, quietly released to nicely merge with the pool waters. Don’t you ever swallow the pool water, you’ll just ingest lots of unpalatable and potentially sickening stuff.   


Go ahead and look for a nearby establishment to patronize when in need of some sporty fun. But always remember health and safety for you and your family comes first. Wherever and whatever sport takes your fancy, go for it. Just don’t take anything for granted, if you find any slack health and safety matters, look elsewhere. Or do something else.


Dr Alfred Murage is a Consultant Gynecologist and Fertility Specialist. amurage@mygyno.co.ke


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