You’ll never think about swimming pools the same way again.
Pools are a glorious part of summer, but they aren’t always as clean as they look.
Don’t worry, this isn’t a post for germaphobes about why pools are disgusting and you should avoid them forever. We don’t live in a sterile world, so it’s totally normal that pools have germs like everything else. Besides, many bacteria are harmless and found naturally in the environment and on our skin. It’s the pathogens you want to avoid: any bacteria, virus, or other organism that causes infection and disease.
Peangdao / Getty Images / Via thinkstockphotos.com
Most people (looking at you) accidentally swallow some pool water while they’re swimming.
Adults ingest on average half an ounce of water every time they swim, while kids usually swallow double that, germ expert Kelly Reynolds, Ph.D., at the University of Arizona, tells BuzzFeed Health. All that splashing, diving, and spitting can actually allow water-borne pathogens into your system, like ones shed from actual poop, which can obviously make you sick.
Moodboard / Getty Images / Via thinkstockphotos.com
Erikreis / Getty Images
Over 89 million people swim in public pools each summer, which makes it a popular place to swap germs.
Honestly, most public pools will probably test positive for a disease-causing pathogen, according to Reynolds. Even if it’s maintained and properly chlorinated, you’re dealing with A LOT of people in a SMALL amount of water, creating basically a breeding ground.
“Because so many people go into pools, there’s a huge exposure potential if there happens to be disease-causing bacteria or pathogens – so a single pool can cause a mass outbreak,” says Reynolds.
bTV / Via imgur.com