Swimming pools with crystal clear water are frequently at the focus of summer fun. And, while we stress the need of wearing sunscreen and avoiding drowning during water sports, you’re probably unaware of the chemicals used in pools.
You may recognize the smell of chlorine, but unless you’re responsible for pool cleaning, you’re probably not investigating how pool chemicals may harm your health.
Chlorine and bromine in the pool keep you protected from germs and bacteria. They can help avoid epidemics and other potential health issues when used correctly.
Due to current shortages, however, many people have resorted to mixing things that shouldn’t be in pools. Mishandling or improper storage of pool chemicals are two other issues.
Baruch Fertel, MD, an emergency medicine specialist, gives some helpful pool chemical management techniques so you may stay safe when cleaning or enjoying the pool.
“It’s a wonderful time of year,” Dr. Fertel says. “People have opened their pools to allow their friends and family to cool off in the scorching heat.”
When it comes to pool chemicals and equipment, however, everyone should follow some fundamental safety guidelines.”
The importance of pool chemicals
Your pool’s chlorine and pH level are referred to as your “disinfection team” by the CDC. These two components are your first line of defense against pathogens that can make you sick. Chlorine is quite effective, however it does not act immediately.
And when dirt, skin cells, sunshine, and even feces end up in a pool, they can deplete chlorine levels.
The pH level of your pool water influences how acidic or basic it is. Chlorine has a tougher time killing microorganisms in water with a high pH.
Another thing to remember is that your body’s pH can range from 7.2 to 7.8. You’ll be able to tell if the pool water isn’t in this pH range because your skin and eyes will become irritated.
To prevent this from happening to you or your guests, you’ll need to monitor and adjust the chlorine and pH levels on a regular basis.
Other typical indicators of recreational water disease or pool chemical sensitivity
Other typical signs of irritation or disease, according to Dr. Fertel, include ear ache, difficulty breathing, cough, and congestion.
Should you be able to smell chlorine? U
No, you shouldn’t be able to detect the odor of chlorine. A well-maintained pool should not have a distinct chemical odor, according to the CDC. You’re getting a whiff of what’s known as “chloramines” when you smell that distinct “chlorine smell.”
Chloramines are generated when chlorinated water comes into contact with perspiration, urine, dirt, skin cells, and even excrement.
How to prevent chloramines
You probably won’t want to go to a public pool after reading the final section. However, there are certain things you may do at home to avoid chloramines.
Do not swim if you have diarrhea. The same is true for the children.
Before entering the water, always use the restroom and take bathroom breaks as needed.
Before entering the pool, take a shower. Rinsing off in the shower for a minute can help remove the majority of dirt and other contaminants from your body.
Put on a swim cap.
Peeing in the water is not a good idea.
Add chemicals to the pool water with caution.
According to Dr. Fertel, there is a correct and wrong method to do it. It’s similar to adding detergent to a washing machine when you think about it.
“Always put the powder to the water, not the water to the powder, when adding chemicals to a pool.”
When even a small amount of water gets on some pool chemicals, it’s known as ‘wetting.’ Chemical wetness can result in a potentially explosive response. That’s why adding pool chemicals to the water is critical.”
Pool chemicals should be kept in a dry location.
Chemicals should never be stored in a moist environment. Dr. Fertel advises keeping them in a cool, dry location away from any leaky containers.
“Pool chemicals should be kept in a dry environment.” Make sure there aren’t any other chemicals or goods on the shelves above them that could drip on them.
The containers in which the chemicals are kept should likewise be firmly sealed.”
Chemicals from various years should never be mixed, he adds. If you’re pouring the chemicals into a specific equipment or container, make sure to clean it well before using it again.
Only use approved chemicals in your pool
If you can’t obtain the pool chemicals you need, making your own mixture is never a good idea.
Some common pool chemicals, according to the EPA, are incompatible with one another. When these substances are mixed, they can generate a chemical reaction that can ignite nearby combustible items or produce very toxic and corrosive chlorine gas.
“Don’t turn to ‘homegrown brews’ or ‘homegrown combinations’ if you’re having trouble locating the pool chemicals you need.” We are aware that several items are currently in short supply.
Chemicals used in pools are no exception. It’s critical to use pool equipment that is both safe and certified. It’s not the right moment to try something new.”
Basic personal protection equipment, such as goggles and gloves, is also required, according to him.
Dr. Fertel recommends using a face shield when utilizing pool chemicals for an extended period of time. Also, make sure you’re working with these chemicals in a well-ventilated environment.
Most chemical exposures, according to Dr. Fertel, can be controlled by simply leaving the area. When in doubt, though, seek medical advice.
In the event that someone ingests pool chemicals, call your local poison control center right away.