Temperatures are rising, and so will our desires to find ways to cool off. From cranking the AC to taking a dip in the pool—we’ll do just about anything to not break a sweat. But if you aren’t fortunate to have your own pool, you may wonder if your community or public pool, water parks and other aquatic venues are safe options for you and your family during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As stay-at-home orders are no longer in place and swimming venues open, here’s what you should know before taking the plunge with others.
Can COVID-19 spread through pool water?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization, there is no evidence COVID-19 can spread to others through water in pools, hot tubs, spas or water play areas.
"Proper operation and maintenance (including disinfection with chlorine and bromine) of these facilities should inactivate the virus in the water,” the CDC said.
While disinfection and pH are the best defense against germs that cause recreational water illnesses, make sure you are following the recommended levels for your pool and not overdoing the chemicals. According to the CDC, pool chemical injuries account for about 4,500 U.S. emergency department visits each year.
Are public pools, water parks and other aquatic venues safe from COVID-19?
Swimming is a fun, healthy physical activity to do with others, especially in the summer. While public aquatic venues already follow strict safety protocols to operate and manage their facilities, in a COVID-19 world they will also follow additional local and state guidelines to maintain healthy operations and environments for those who visit their facilities during COVID-19.
If you plan to visit one of these facilities, heed their recommendations for the health and well-being of you and others around you.
The CDC also gave these additional recommendations to help you stay safe this summer during COVID-19.
Tips for Healthy Swimming
- Avoid close contact with others. Keep six feet of physical distance from others you don’t live with, both in and out of the water. If this isn’t possible, consider going during low-traffic times to avoid overcrowding.
- Shower off before you swim. According to the CDC, rinsing off in the shower—even for just one minute—removes most dirt or anything else on your body.
- Stay home if you are sick. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, have tested positive for COVID-19 or were exposed to someone within the last 14 days, stay home. This also applies if you or your children are sick with diarrhea.
- Wash your hands often, cover coughs and sneezes and avoid touching your face.
- Wipe down any areas that are frequently touched. If your family is using any lounge chairs, tables or any other shared objects, you can give them an additional wipe down.
- Properly use face coverings as feasible. However, don’t wear while swimming or in the water. The CDC does not advise wearing face coverings in the water as it can be difficult to breathe through when they are wet.
- Follow your state’s Healthy Swimming resources for things like pool code information, beach monitoring, water quality and recreational water illnesses.
“Everyone should follow local and state guidance that may determine when and how recreational water facilities may operate,” the CDC advised.
Ultimately, the decision to swim or not to swim at a public pool or recreational venue is a personal one but following CDC guidelines can help ensure you and your loved ones safety during this uncertain time. If you have questions or concerns, contact your health care provider to discuss your personal risk and any additional preventative measures.
For more information regarding COVID-19, visit bannerhealth.com.