(ABC NEWS) – G-r-o-s-s.
A new survey finds that more than half of Americans (51 percent) use swimming pools as community bathtubs, either swimming as a substitute for the shower or using the pool to rinse after exercising or working in the garden. And yet, Americans knowingly litter pools despite the fact that almost two-thirds (64 percent) of respondents say pool chemists do not eliminate the need to bathe before swimming.
"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."
The survey revealed that 40 percent of Americans admit that they have urinated in the pool as an adult. Urinating in the pool reacts with chlorine and reduces the amount of chlorine available to kill germs.
"The bottom line is: do not pee in the pool," said Michele Hlavsa, head of the Healthy Swimming program at CDC. "Swimming is an excellent way to be physically active and not urinating in the pool is a key step for healthy swimming."
According to the survey, almost a quarter of Americans said they would go to a pool within one hour after having diarrhea and almost half of them never take a shower before swimming.
So, yes, consider these practical facts when you go to the pool for Memorial Day.
"Pools are great places to have fun with friends and family," said Jim Mock, Acting Executive Director of the Pool and Jacuzzis Alliance. "A trained pool operator can make the combination of pool chemicals healthy and safe, and swimmers can help keep it well by swimming in a healthy way."
Health officials recommend verifying inspection scores at the swim site or online before going to the pool. The Water Quality and Health Council has compiled a growing list of local and state health departments that provide online access to pool inspection reports.