How to Protect from Diseases That Can Be Transmitted in the Sea and Pool?
Diseases caused by microbes and chemicals in the water we swim in are called recreational water diseases (RSH). These diseases are transmitted by swallowing infected water contaminated with microbes or chemicals, inhaling its vapor, or by contact with dirty water in swimming pools, hot water pools, and water parks. Interactive water sources, lakes, rivers or seas are other places where these diseases can be transmitted. Recreational water diseases, which can be caused by chemicals that become gases in the water or in the air, can cause air quality problems in indoor water facilities.
What are recreational water diseases?
Recreational water diseases; It can manifest itself with a wide variety of infections in the skin, ear, eye, digestive, respiratory and neurological systems. Some common or potentially serious forms of RSH are presented below.
1- Diarrhea: The most commonly reported form is diarrhea. Diseases seen in the form of diarrhea can often be caused by bacteria called Cryptosporidium, Giardia, Shigella, E. coli EO157: H7 and Norovirus. These germs can get into the water if a child with an infection soils a diaper while in the water or if an adult has a fecal accident.
2- Urinary tract infections: Urinary tract, genital fungal and vaginal infections are also common. In these diseases, symptoms such as burning during urination, frequent urination, pain in the waist and groin, burning, itching and discharge in the genital area are observed.
3- Red eye: The category of viruses known as adenoviruses can often cause red eye disease. These viruses can cause not only red eyes, but also croup, colds, sore throat and diarrhea.
4- External ear canal infections: Ear infections occur as a result of not cleaning dirty water that enters the ear after swimming. This infection, known as “swimmer’s ear” or otitis externa, is not the same as the common childhood middle ear infection. The infection occurs in the external ear canal and can occur in swimmers of all ages and cause pain and discomfort.
5- Molluscum contagiosum: Molluscum contagiosum is a wart-like rash skin disease caused by poxviruses. Although it is not spread through swimming pool water, sharing towels and toys with an infected child or adult can result in transmission.
6- Hepatitis A: It is a viral infection that affects the liver. It causes jaundice, abdominal pain, fatigue, nausea and fever. Although it is often spread through contaminated food, it can also be transmitted to a lesser extent through contaminated water.
7- Naegleria: Naegleria fowleri is an extremely serious and often fatal infection caused by the microorganism called ameba. Although rare, it is sometimes found in warm freshwater pools and lakes and is also known colloquially as the “brain-eating amoeba”.
For the treatment of all these diseases, you need to apply to the infectious diseases department, also known as infectious diseases.
Risk groups for pool and seaborne diseases
Children, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems (such as AIDS patients, people with organ transplants, or people receiving chemotherapy) may become more severely ill if infected. Individuals in this risk group should know that recreational water may be contaminated with human or animal feces, especially those containing Cryptosporidium bacteria. Because this bacterium can cause a life-threatening infection in people with weak immune systems.
Ways to protect yourself from diseases transmitted by pools and seas
There are a few easy and effective healthy swimming steps you can always follow while swimming to protect yourself, your loved ones and your children from RSHs. It would be useful to pay attention to some measurements before entering the pool.
- Checking the latest analysis results of the pool
- Making sure the drain hole at the bottom of the pool is visible from the outside
- Using pool test strips to ensure the water’s pH and free chlorine or bromine concentration are correct
- Making sure there are no chemicals in the open
- Staying away from the pool if you have diarrhea
- Using waterproof bandages if you have an open wound
- Taking a shower before entering the water. Just 1 minute of rinsing in the shower will rid your body of dirt and debris. This way, you help keep the pool clean.
- If the cleanliness of the sea or pool is in doubt, ensure that people in the risk group with weak immune systems stay away from the water.
- Wearing glasses and earplugs to protect against eye and ear infections and drying the ears thoroughly after getting out of the water.
- Avoid sharing personal items such as towels and slippers
- Removing wet swimsuits as soon as possible
- Preferring to swim in the sea instead of the pool, where the risk of infection is less
Note: If you have any symptoms of a disease transmitted from the sea or pool, you must apply to the infectious diseases department as soon as possible.