With summer in full swing, many of us will be hitting up pools across Canada to keep cool this season. Yet, Health Canada has just issued a warning to all swimmers to beware of bacteria and viruses that are often caught hanging out in these pools. Health Canada warns that testing and sanitizing your pools are the best way to avoid bugs and parasites from floating in your water and getting you sick.
In a press release, Health Canada states that even if the water looks clean, it can often be contaminated, and swimming in contaminated water can cause stomach infections, ear infections, and skin rashes. So testing water before you swim in it is extremely important.
Health Canada reminds you to always maintain the proper water balance in your pool and test the water daily for pH and alkalinity levels. All pool products that are used must be registered under the Pest Control Products Act and stored in cool dry places.
While Health Canada does not specifically state the type of bacteria that can be found within pools this summer, one of the bacterias that they may have in mind is a dangerous parasite that has been spotted in chlorinated pools across Canada.
According to the Government of Canada, Cryptosporidiosis was added to Canada's notifiable disease list in 2000 and has been reportedly spotted throughout Canada for the past 19 years. This disease is caused by parasites that are often spotted in chlorinated pools.
According to CTV News, this parasite can survive in chlorinated pools for up to seven days and is the leading cause of 'water-linked diarrhea'. Symptoms in patients can last up to three weeks and can be deadly to those with weakened immune systems, such as the elderly or cancer patients.
In Canada, there have been a total of over 13,400 reported cases of cryptosporidiosis throughout Canada from 2000 to 2016, with usually around 900 cases reported each year.
The most common way to contract this parasite is through swallowing either pool or splash pad water. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report urge swimmers to not swallow pool water and to always wash hands after swimming.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warn that alcohol-based sanitizers are not effective against these parasites and that hands should always be washed, especially after swimming.
Disclaimer: Cover photo used for illustrative purposes only.