Recreational water illnesses, or RWIs, can take many different forms. The most frequent are respiratory infections, but diarrheal disorders can sometimes be very dangerous. Understanding the causes and concerns connected to pool water can assist swimming pool owners in making sure their own pools provide a healthy environment for themselves as well as for family and friends.
Legionella, a tiny bacterium that causes Legionnaires’ Disease, is the primary cause of respiratory RWIs.
Where Are Legionella Found?
Since Legionella is a bacterium that naturally exists in warm water, those who use heated swimming pools and hot tubs are at an increased risk of developing Legionnaires’ Disease. In fact, inhaling steam from a hot tub is the most typical way to catch the illness. However, there are other potential sources of legionella exposure, such as cooling towers, decorative fountains, plumbing systems, and swimming pools.
Each year, between 8,000 and 18,000 people throughout the U.S. alone are affected by Legionnaires’ Disease, a kind of pneumonia. Although usually manageable with antibiotics, this condition can have a catastrophic outcome if not controlled. Smokers, people with chronic lung conditions, people with weaker immune systems, and people over 50 are those who are most at risk.
How to Reduce the Risk of Legionnaires’ Disease
Regular chemical level checks, particularly when the pool or spa is being used more than usual, can assist pool and hot tub owners in lowering the risk of developing Legionnaires’ disease. By suggesting that pool users take a shower before using the pool, you can also lessen pollutants. Make sure to routinely clean and scrub the surfaces of your hot tub in order to get rid of the biofilm layer, and be certain to change the water and water filter as needed.
You might want to carry pool test strips with you anytime you use a public hot tub, especially if you or a member of your family has additional risk factors for Legionnaires’ disease. (The ideal pool water chemical range is 2-4 ppm chlorine, 4-6 ppm bromine, and a pH of 7.2–7.8)
You can notify the hot tub operator, inquire as to how frequently chemical levels are tested, or inquire as to how the most recent health inspection fared if you notice improper chemical levels at a spa. However, when you use public pools and hot tubs, you actually don’t have any control. Using your own spa or pool and making sure that sufficient care is done to maintain proper chemical levels are the greatest ways to prevent coming into contact with legionella. In addition to having control over the cleanliness of your own private pool, a private pool reduces the likelihood of excessive contaminant levels, which can naturally result in chloramines and unbalanced pool chemicals.
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