The pools are a great place to cool off and, unfortunately, half of the Americans are also bathing, according to a new survey that discusses how certain habits affect the cleanliness of the pool water.
From April 12 to 13, Sachs Media Group interviewed more than 3,100 American adults to discover common behaviors that lead to less than sanitary swimming pool conditions.
Experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Water Quality and Health Council said they hope the annual Health Pools campaign will help educate the public about healthy and safe swimming habits.
Warning, if you are already worried about swimming in a public pool, you may want to stop reading here.
According to the survey, about 51% of Americans reported using a pool as a community bath, rather than showering after exercising or working in the garden.
Surprisingly, less than that amount (around 40%) voluntarily admitted to urinating in the pool, which, according to experts, reduces the amount of chlorine available to eliminate germs.
"The bottom line is: do not piss in the pool," said Michele Hlavsa, head of the Healthy Swimming program at the Centers for Disease Control. "Swimming is an excellent way to be physically active and not urinating in the pool is a key step for healthy swimming."
The survey also found that approximately 24% of Americans would jump into a pool within one hour of having diarrhea, according to the survey. Another 48% said they never take a shower before swimming. Almost all the people surveyed did not know that the chemistry of the pool can be affected by personal care items such as makeup and deodorant.
"When dirt, sweat, personal care products and other things in our body react with chlorine, there is less chlorine available to eliminate germs," said Dr. Chris Wiant, president of the Quality and Health Council of Water. "Rinsing for just 1 minute removes most of the dirt, sweat or anything else on your body."
In an effort to improve pool cleanliness, the CDC's Water Quality and Health Council is offering free test kits through its Healthy Pools campaign so that swimmers can use the kit to measure chlorine levels and the pH in public and backyard pools.
The complete survey can be read here.