15 Disturbing Facts About Public Swimming Pools That Will Absolutely Disgust You

Paul W. Hewson January 6th 2017 Entertainment
If you’ve ever taken a dip in a swimming pool - be it public or private - you’re probably aware of the kind of maintenance required to keep it in good condition. It seems that unless a vat of chemicals is applied to the water by a team of nuclear physicists, anyone who even looks at the water will disintegrate like the Wicked Witch of the West. Thankfully, all that Ph-balancing means the pool water is perfectly clean and safe and there’s nothing disgusting about it. Except for all those chemicals, anyway. And all the filthy other people who swim in it. And… maybe we’ll just take a bath, instead. So, before you go leaping off that diving board into the deep end, here’s 15 super gross things you maybe haven’t considered about pool water. #14 Will Gross You Out!

1. 90 Million People Swim In Public Pools Each Year, All Swapping Germs

Let’s not kid ourselves - people are disgusting. We can’t even help it most times. Every last one of us is covered in germs. We’re constantly sneezing, coughing, burping, farting and God knows what else. And, if you’re being honest with yourself - just how thorough are you cleaning up after using the can? That’s what we thought. Now, take 90 million other people as gross as you and toss them into swimming pools all over the world.

Are you starting to see why they chlorinate the shit (so to speak) out of these pools yet?

2. Sweat, Dirt, Oil, Grime, Bodily Fluids From People End Up In The Water

Like we mentioned above, humans are basically covered in ick, 24/7. Oil, bacteria, sweat, dirt, and probably kid snot if you’re a parent (or were simply within two feet of a kid). Granted, a lot of this stuff isn’t dangerous, but it’s still getting in the water and, chances are, that water’s going to end up in your mouth eventually. Add to that the number of people carrying pathogens on them without even knowing it - yep, that’s a thing - and you very well could get sick.

3. Chlorine Does Do Its Job, But It Doesn't Kill Everything

There’s a reason we’ve been using chlorine in swimming pools for all these years - the stuff works. It doesn’t smell like bleach because it’s a popular aroma - it does the same goddamned thing. But, chlorine can only handle so much, and eventually the number of people going in and out of a swimming pool is just going to overwhelm it. It’s sort of like that scene in I Love Lucy where Lucy can’t keep up with all the chocolate on the conveyer belt. If you’re not familiar with that reference, tough toenails. Go YouTube it or something.

4. Chlorine is Also Depleted by Things like Sunscreen and Other Skin Or Hair Products

A day at the pool isn’t the same unless we slather things like lotion, sunscreen, shampoo, condition, bronzing oil, cooking spray (is that a thing?) and other such accoutrements on our persons. Unfortunately, these products do 0 while doing the stuff they’re meant to do - also work against the chlorine in the water, effectively negating its ability to do the thing its meant to do - namely, murder germs. So, that sunscreen may prevent you from getting skin cancer, but it probably just helped some 9 year old kid get cholera. Maybe. We’re not sure how diseases work, to be honest.

5. Swimming Pools Are Literally Full of Poop

Of course, when you have a pool that’s being enjoyed by children too young to know better (or some adults, too, let’s not kid ourselves), poop is going to end up in the water. It’s disgusting and nobody wants to have to deal with it, but it’s not exactly a surprise when it happens. What you may not take into account, however, is how much other fecal matter ends up in there, too. Unless you’re getting a Planet of the Apes-style hosedown after each time you take a dump, you’re probably still carrying trace amounts of feces on you. On average, it’s .14 grams - about the size of a pea. Huh huh huh, pee.

6. Poop is Full Of Nasty Pathogens Like Hepatitis A and E. Coli.

We don’t think we’re shattering any illusions here when we tell you that poop is more than just smelly gross stuff that comes out of your butt. It can also contain disease carrying bacteria. Little buggers like our old friend E. coli, shigela, and the bacteria that causes food poisoning. Swallowing these can lead to diseases like Hepatitis A and typhoid. Neither of those are fun. Are you likely to get these disease? Probably not - but if the possibility is there, it’s something you should be aware of.

7. People Pee in the Pool Often And It Makes Chlorine Less Effective

No, Mr, Mountain Man, urine is not sterile. However, you really don’t need to panic if a bit of the yellow stuff in the pool water ends up in your mouth. Be disgusted, sure, but don’t freak out. Once again, our good pal Chlorine is on hand to take care of the dangerous stuff before it can get to us. However, by doing this, once again its germ fighting abilities are diminished, making it less effective against the other stuff we’re depositing into the water. So, just think about that the next time you can’t be bothered to get out of the pool to drain your lizard.

8. Most People Do Not Shower Before Swimming

Well, to be fair, the mindset makes sense. Why shower when I’m about to just jump into a bunch of water, anyway?, you may ask yourself. At least you would have before reading everything above. Showering before swimming gets all that oil, sweat, bacteria and, yes, poop off of you before you can deposit it in the pool. Granted, it doesn’t do much good if nobody else in the pool has showered, but at least you can have the peace of mind that you did your part, at least.

9. Swim Diapers Leak Consistently

Now, we’re not telling you parents that there’s no point in putting your little one in a swim diaper. Clearly, they’re better than a regular diaper and certainly better than no diaper at all. But, they’re not infallible. Studies have shown that stuff leaks out of them all the same. All the more reason to have your munchkin swim in the baby pool - and soak up that cocktail of chemicals and bodily fluids with kids their own age.

10. People Who Had Diarrhea Shed Diarrhea-Causing Pathogens Into The Pool

Diarrhea. Go ahead. Finish your giggling. We’ll wait. Done? OK. So, the fact of the matter is that if you’ve just finished a round of the Hershey Squirts, you probably should stay out of the pool. In fact, you may want to wait a while - like two weeks. According to the CDC, even if you’ve evacuated every last drop of hobo gravy out of your system, the pathogens associated with the disease can still cling to your body. Which means they’re going to end up in the pool water and the next thing you know, everyone else in the pool is going to be doing the Far East Two-Step themselves.

We had way too much fun writing this one.

11. Accidental Poops From Kids and Babies Are More Common Than You Think

At this point, we think we’ve clearly established that kids, while adorable and precocious and they’re our future and blah blah blah, are also disgusting. Usually, they can’t help it. And, controlling those bodily functions when surrounded by that much water can be difficult - you just try fighting the urge to take a leak when you’re near a waterfall. But, it’s not just going #1 in the pool that the kiddos find it hard to prevent - they also poop in pools way more than you’d think. And they’re usually too embarrassed to tell anyone. All we can do is hope that it’s solid so someone can scoop it up.

12.Cryptosporidium Can Cause Nasty Pool Outbreaks

If chlorine is Superman, the parasite known as Cryptosporidium is its Doomsday. Not only is there cure or antibotic for this diarrhea causing pest, but it’s resistant to chlorine. If you have it, it can cling to your body for weeks after you’ve recovered from whatever crud it gave you. And, once in the water, it can survive there for weeks, as well. It usually hitches a ride on feces, and it doesn’t take much. This is primarily why it’s the #1 cause of pool outbreaks in the country.

13. Only a Small Amount Of Pool Water Can Get You Really Sick

Certainly, you may be thinking, we all swallow a little pool water each time we go swimming. But it has to take a lot of ingested pool water to get sick, right? Not so fast, my friend. Think of pool water much like you would think of tap water in a third world country - there’s a reason tourists are advised to take bottled water with them. Take the same precautions when it comes to getting pool water in your mouth, Just an accidental splash down your throat can give you those rumblies in your tumbly.

14. Pool's End Up Closing Because Germs Fight Off Chlorine

So, let’s say your local pool gets contaminated and the proper authorities are notified. What to do? Well, the most obvious solution is a chlorine shock - which is just what it sounds like. But, blasting the crap out of a pool (somewhat literally) with chemicals, while effective, is a time consuming process. Not only the shock, but the process of then getting the pool Ph-balanced again to the point of it being safe for swimming. Clearly, nobody is swimming until that’s done. And if the pool is a business, not only is it costly to do but the pool isn’t making any money while it’s going on, either. So, if you think chlorine shocks are a regular thing at swimming pools - think again.

15. The Rate Of People Getting Sick From Pools Is Increasing Every Year

Not to bum you out or anything, but the number of pool related outbreaks is growing. Of course, this is somewhat in part due to the fact that there are more pools opening all the time. According to CDC stats, there were 78 reported outbreaks in 31 states - and the majority of these were in pools that were certified as properly chlorinated.

We’re not telling you to not swim, of course. Pool-related illnesses are still fairly rare. Just be cognizant where you swim, clean yourself up before you get in and, for crying out loud, try to keep your mouth shut.


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