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Healthy pools mean healthy people

With more leisure time and temperatures creeping up at Christmas time, many people choose to cool down in a refreshing pool. However pools must be kept healthy to keep you healthy.

Senior Environmental Health Officer with Greater Southern Area Health Service, Tony Burns, said if pools aren’t maintained properly they can become a source of infection.

“As the weather heats up so does the opportunity for bugs and infections to grow at a rapid rate. Swimming pools provide the perfect environment for this to happen so it’s important to be vigilant in keeping the pool sparkling clean and healthy,” Mr Burns said.

Diseases such as cryptosporidiosis are highly contagious and are easily spread simply by swallowing contaminated pool water.

“Many bacteria can be killed simply by using chlorine and through normal pool filtration. However diseases such as Giardia and cryptosporidium are not eliminated so easily.

“Therefore we encourage people to take care not to introduce these bugs to the pool in the first place,” said Mr Burns.

Here’s some summer pool tips to keep you healthy:

• Clean pool and filter regularly
• Operate your pool filter between 8 – 12 hours per day depending on pool use
• Don’t allow pets in the pool
• Stay out of the pool if you have been feeling unwell
• If you have experienced gastroenteritis, wait until you have been symptom free for at least one week before returning to the pool
• Avoid swallowing pool water
• Use of disposable ‘swimming’ nappies for infants
• Avoid swimmers itch by keeping pools below 26 degrees and well disinfected (chlorinated)
• Keep pool gates closed and make sure a resuscitation chart is clearly displayed near by.
• Avoid using a heated spa bath after consuming alcohol. Alcohol causes blood vessels dilate and venous pooling can occur resulting in fainting and possible drowning.

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