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Division of Disease Control

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Healthy Swimming

This summer, swimming pools will be filled with people having fun and staying cool.

But did you know that people can spread germs and get sick from pool water if they are not careful?

How do germs get in the pool water?
Pool water is shared with everyone who gets in the pool. If someone with diarrhea swims in the pool, they can contaminate the water. Diarrhea can spread to others when swimmers swallow the contaminated water.

Does chlorine protect against germs in pool water?
Most germs that can make people sick are killed by chlorine. However, some germs like Cryptosporidium (also known as “crypto”) can be resistant to chlorine and live in the pool for days. Without your help, even the best-maintained pools can spread illness.

How can I keep myself and others healthy when we swim?
Healthy swimming behaviors are the best way to help keep germs out of pool water and protect swimmers from getting sick. To stay healthy, follow these simple steps:

  • Do not swim when you have diarrhea. Wait two weeks after diarrhea has stopped before you get in a pool.
  • Do not swallow the pool water.
  • Take your kids to the bathroom a lot. Check diapers often.
  • Change diapers in a bathroom, not by the pool.
  • Wash your hands after you use the toilet or change diapers.
  • If your child has a bowel movement in the pool, tell staff right away.
  • Take a shower with soap before you get in the pool.
  • Wash children and babies (be sure to wash their bottoms) before getting in the pool.

Recreational Water Illnesses

Learn more about the illnesses you can get from swimming in a pool that isn't clean.


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