It is officially summer, which means it is officially pool season. And while taking in a dip in the pool is the absolute best way to beat the summer heat, there is one major downside: people (largely children) peeing or having bouts of diarrhea in the pool. Yeah, gross!
To discourage people from using the pool as a discreet bathroom, the Center for Disease Control has released a series of gifs that work as a guide for healthy swimming, which immediately got tons of traction on Twitter, for what we think are clearly obvious reasons.
Another shows a kid swimming in the toilet, with the caption that “diarrhea and swimming don’t mix” in order to illustrate the point that using the pool as a toilet is basically like using the toilet as a pool, which is hopefully something you aren’t in the habit of doing. And if you aren’t, then it makes for a hilariously gross image that does illustrate the point, but at what cost?
Diarrhea and swimming don’t mix! Follow CDC’s Steps for Healthy Swimming to help protect yourself and those you care about from illness at the pool. https://t.co/nA0chO6Q9E #HealthySwimming pic.twitter.com/bIraeTY2bd
— CDC (@CDCgov) July 2, 2021
But is peeing (or pooping) in the pool really that big of a deal? I mean, sure, it’s a gross thing to do, and it’s the type of thing that will make you hop out of the water as fast as you can. But is it actually dangerous?
According to experts, yes. It can be because it can waste chlorine. And chlorine is very important for pool safety, as it exists to protect swimmers against germs, bacteria, dirt, sweat, and even fecal particles. But Jamie Alan, Pharm.D., Ph.D., associate professor of pharmacology and toxicology at Michigan State University, says that “urine alters the water’s pH,” which makes it less effective in fighting against other substances that can be harmful.
— CDC (@CDCgov) June 27, 2021
“Urine takes chlorine away from being able to do the things it’s really supposed to do, which is killing viruses and germs,” says Kathryn Boling, M.D., a primary care physician at Baltimore’s Mercy Medical Center.
So this summer, do your part by resisting the urge to pee in the pool and instead, head to the bathroom. It’s a small sacrifice to make. And hopefully, you are able to keep your kid from pooping in the pool, as that is the type of thing that ends a party extremely quickly.