Help keep germs at bay

Seymour Telegraph - - LOCAL CLASSIES - While chlo­rine kills most germs in treated pub­lic pools, some germs are highly re­sis­tant to chlo­rine at nor­mal con­cen­tra­tions.

While swim­ming is fun and a great way to stay fit and ac­tive, some­times germs can con­tam­i­nate the pool wa­ter, which can make peo­ple sick.

Vic­to­ria’s deputy chief health of­fi­cer Dr Brett Sut­ton said chlo­rine killed most germs in treated pub­lic pools but some germs, such as cryp­tosporid­ium, were highly re­sis­tant to chlo­rine at nor­mal con­cen­tra­tions.

Dr Sut­ton said these germs could live in pool wa­ter for days and make peo­ple sick. Out­breaks of cryp­tosporid­io­sis (crypto) as­so­ci­ated with pools oc­cur when swim­mers ac­ci­den­tally swal­low pool wa­ter con­tam­i­nated with the germ.

As of De­cem­ber 14, there have been 1146 cases of crypto no­ti­fied to the Depart­ment of Health and Hu­man Ser­vices in 2017 com­pared to 779 cases for the same time pe­riod in 2016. This year, there have been 18 out­breaks of crypto as­so­ci­ated with pub­lic swim­ming pools, com­pared to five in 2016.

‘‘Every­one has a re­spon­si­bil­ity to keep them­selves and oth­ers safe and healthy and help keep the pool clean and free of germs,’’ Dr Sut­ton said.

Five sim­ple steps peo­ple can take to help keep the wa­ter clean:

Do not swim if you have di­ar­rhoea or for 14 days af­ter a di­ag­no­sis of crypto.

Shower and wash with soap, es­pe­cially your bot­tom, be­fore swim­ming.

Wash your hands with soap af­ter go­ing to the toi­let or chang­ing a nappy.

Change nap­pies in nappy change ar­eas only.

Avoid swal­low­ing pool wa­ter.

Even in the best main­tained pools, Dr Sut­ton said, germs could wash off bod­ies and con­tam­i­nate the wa­ter.

‘‘You and your chil­dren are more likely to be in­fec­tious when not feel­ing well. Show­er­ing with soap be­fore swim­ming will help keep germs out of the wa­ter,’’ he said. ‘‘If you have vom­it­ing or di­ar­rhoea, stay out of the wa­ter . . . un­til the symp­toms have stopped.’’ For more in­for­ma­tion visit

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