According to “the Poolman” of Poolinfo, the swimming pool chemical that turns pee blue (as seen in Grownups) does not exist. “The limit does not exist!” (Mean Girls was on this morning). Anyways, just because there isn’t a chemical to detect urine doesn’t mean you should be peeing in the pool! Please, don’t pee in the pool!
But isn’t that why there’s chlorine? What’s the big deal about going number one in the pool anyways? When urine and chlorine are mixed, this produces irritants that cause skin rash and red eyes (Water Quality and Health Council). Not to mention the fact that you’re swimming in another person’s pee. The Water Quality and Health Council reported that 1 in 5 people admitted to peeing in the pool. I’m assuming that the actual number is probably higher. No one wants to swim in a toilet, so don’t pee in the pool.
Chlorine does not kill germs instantly. In fact, it can take minutes to days for chlorine to kill them (CDC). Even swallowing just a tiny bit of water that contains germs can make you sick with a recreational water illness (RWI). So, avoid getting pool water in your mouth (that’s kinda tricky). But most importantly, don’t swallow the pool water.
You can also get an RWI by “breathing in mists or aerosols of, or having contact with contaminated water in swimming pools, hot tubs, water parks, water play areas, interactive fountains, lakes, rivers, or oceans” (CDC). Chemicals in the water or chemicals that evaporate from the water and cause indoor air quality problems can also cause RWIs.
RWIs can be a wide variety of infections, including gastrointestinal, skin, ear, respiratory, eye, neurologic and wound infections. And the most common RWI is diarrhea, which can be caused by germs such as Crypto (short for Cryptosporidium), Giardia, Shigella, norovirus and E. coli O157:H7. This is really obvious, but I gotta say it anyways, “Don’t swim when you have diarrhea.” GROSS.
To help prevent RWIs, it is important to practice good hygiene. The CDC recommends showering with soap before swimming and washing your hands after using the bathroom. Remember, clean hands save lives.
How much do you know about water safety? Test your knowledge and take the quiz!
By ALYSSA LLAMAS
p.s. Don’t make a sissy!