Sick Pool



What is a sick pool?

Unfortunately, I just found out. It’s when the pool chemicals are not kept at the levels needed to guard against bacteria.

I didn’t think about it. Even though I’m very careful not to let water get into my mouth, it does flush up my nose and goes into my ears. So, this is where those little bugs can get you, even in my pool.

I look at hotels and community pools differently than I did before. I always knew that we need to keep a healthy respect for the bacteria that live in public and community water parks and pools. And I do go to the waterparks with my grandkids. I try to be careful not to let the nasties get to me there. I know there is no protection, and if you go into the fire, you will get burned.

But for some reason going to a hotel where there is no one in the pool day after day seemed to me to be a fairly safe water source. NOT! Florida is hot and has lots of rain.

I presume since the pool is rarely used, the hotel staff pay little or no attention to the pool's health. It looked good. It didn’t smell bad. So why did I get so sick?

The chemicals, in all reality, probably were not checked, and the germs could take over. Hence my experience. Like jumping into a petri dish. UGH!

It sounds so nasty now. I know it could have been a lot worse, but I had traveled across the country to see my niece graduate and instead spent three days in bed in a hotel room. Not the best way to spend time and money.

So, I thought I would share the information and let everyone know before they head out for the summer to all those fun-filled destinations and adventures to watch out for the “SICK POOL”!

So, how do we do that?

Here is some information I found out. A lot of it I already knew but didn’t heed, and there are things that I learned that would help me to make better decisions in the future:

If the Chlorine or Bromine chemicals used to kill germs in the pools, hot tubs, and water playgrounds are not kept at the recommended levels, the germs can multiply.

Here are some tips to avoid getting sick:

1. Swallowing Water — Do not swallow the water. Not even a little bit. All it takes is a little bit to make you sick. Chlorine doesn’t always kill all the germs; some can survive.

I don’t think any of us intend to swallow pool water, but if we don’t consciously try to protect ourselves, it can easily happen. Explain to the little ones why we do not let the water go into our mouths.

2. Shower — Rinse off before and after entering the pool. This helps get the bacteria off your skin.

This is an easy one to forget. Especially if a shower is not provided at the pool sight, when using a pool, make it a part of the routine to shower before and after. No exceptions.

3. Wash your hands — as always, handwashing is important to remove germs from your hands so as not to swallow,

We have been taught to wash our hands after restroom use, but the same germs are in the pool.

4. Bathroom Breaks — Frequent bathroom breaks help to prevent accidents. Children should not go into the water if they have diarrhea. Change swim diapers often.

It’s easy to forget when we are having fun to schedule potty breaks. So, if it is easy for you to forget, most people don’t even think about it.

5. Weather — Warm weather causes high bacteria in the water.

6. Heavy rains — Avoid swimming after heavy rain or flood. There is a higher probability of contamination.

I never associated the weather with pool water, but now that I have read this, I know I was in the perfect weather conditions for a sick pool.

7. Dry Ears — Keep your ears dry during and after swimming.

At home, I use alcohol or hydrogen peroxide drops in my ears. They have swimmers eardrops that you can purchase from the store. My granddaughter gets a lot of ear infections, so we stay very aware of making sure her ears are dry after swimming. I will now make sure mine are too.

8. Open Wounds — don’t swim with an open wound.

With the little ones, flush out any of their boo-boos after swimming.

What are the symptoms of having been exposed to an infected water source? The symptoms can be one or more of the following:

1. Cough

2. Fever

3. Flu-like symptoms

4. Nausea and vomiting

5. Ear pain

6. Shortness of breath

7. Watery diarrhea

*People over fifty years of age or with a weakened immune system might develop a more severe illness if exposed to pool water germs. Make sure you contact a doctor.

I will never complain again about how much my pool man earns. I have a good pool man who spends time servicing the equipment, cleaning, and balancing the chemicals.

Also, I chose a saltwater pool to avoid the massive amounts of cholerine required in a traditional pool.

Writing about this information was missing from my to-do list. But after my experience of the past week, it is one of my new priorities.

Have fun this summer. Stay safe and well.




Monica Broussard is a Writer, and Speaker, with a Life Coach Certification. She occasionally writes for her hometown SeaCliff Living Magazine.